We are our own worst enemy. You know that’s true, right? We are our harshest critics and our greatest doubters. And I think the biggest thing you (and anybody) could do for yourself, is learn to shut up the voice that tells you you’re not good enough.
We all have that voice. It’s the one that goes, “Hmmm… maybe not,” when we have an awesome idea. It’s the one that says, “You’re embarrassing yourself!” when we try out a new skill. Or, “Lol, everyone hates you” at random times of the day for no good reason. If you’ve ever thought, “I’m too fat to pull this look off”, “I’m not smart enough to figure this out”, or “I’m way out of his/her league”… you’ve fallen victim to that voice.
We need to shut that voice up, babe.
It does not serve you, and it’s probably the number one thing that holds you back.
Related: How to Build Self-Discipline (the lazy girl’s guide)
If you had a friend that talked to you like that – they wouldn’t be your friend for very long. If you had a coach, boss, or partner talk to you like that, you’d recognize it as abusive. So why do you tolerate it from yourself?
Is it because you believe it’s true? And if so… WHY do you believe it’s true? Is it because it’s actually true, or is it because you’ve told yourself this for so long that you’ve started to believe it?
(Hint: It’s definitely the last one, NOT the first one).
Here’s the truth: The monkey part of your brain prioritizes staying in your comfort zone above all else. It wants to uphold the status quo that’s already within your head. So when you think about doing something outside of your comfort zone, your monkey brain freaks out and tries to beat you down to keep you complacent.
Rational brain says, “Oh look, a posting for my dream job. I should apply and see what happens”
Monkey brain says, “You don’t have the qualifications. They’d call you in for an interview just to laugh at you. And even if you did get the job, you’re too stupid to know what to do with it”
And so you don’t apply for the job, even though it’s your dream, and monkey brain is pleased because it doesn’t have to step outside of its comfort zone. Over time, that little voice gets stronger and stronger the more you listen to it, and starts to pre-emptively put you down in order to keep you there.
Think of your brain as a car. Your rational brain is driving the car, and your monkey brain (that ugly little gremlin voice) is the passenger. Your rational brain is following a roadmap that’s leading you to your goals, your aspirations, and your joy. The monkey brain wants to go to WalMart and buy some Ben & Jerry’s.
So that ugly little voice is feeding you directions. Turn left here. Turn right. Keep going straight.
Your job is to differentiate from the directions on the map, and the directions that your monkey brain is feeding you. If it helps, think of the monkey brain as your hot mess of a friend Greg, whom you just picked up from a party drunk out of his mind. Are you going to let Greg give you directions? No, because you’re trying to get him home safely and he’s trying to trick you into buying him Taco Bell.
When Greg says “Turn left”, you say, “Forget it Greg, I’m not taking you to get tacos”. When Greg gets mad and yells, “This is why no one likes you and you have no friends and you’re ugly”, you’re not going to entertain the idea that he’s right; you’re going to recognize that he’s having a temper tantrum because Drunk Greg can be a bit of a jerk (on a side note, you should probably stop hanging out with Greg).
Your monkey brain is that messy, abusive friend that you keep driving around. It’s trying hard to steer the car, but that doesn’t mean you should let it. And no matter what that monkey brain tells you, recognize it for what it is – a temper tantrum from a hot mess who’s panicking about you leaving your comfort zone.
So when you think, “I should renew my gym membership” and you hear, “you’re so lazy you won’t go anyway, why waste your money?”, your response to that should be “Screw you monkey brain, I’m going to get fit despite you”, NOT “Yeah, you’re right”.
The big secret to shut up the voice that tells you you’re not good enough is simple:
1. Recognize it as separate from your rational thoughts and feelings;
2. Realize it has a hidden agenda it’s trying to push (keeping you down, keeping you in your comfort zone), and;
3. Telling it to shut up and deal with you being awesome
Over time, that voice has gotten as strong as it is now because you feed it. You pay attention to it and take its advice.
So what if we starve it? If we ignore it, tell it off, and do what we want anyway, despite the temper tantrums and the insults?
Over time, that voice falters and withers and eventually fails. It loses its strength. The more you do this, the weaker it gets.
And you’ve shut it up. You’ve shut up the voice that tells you you’re not good enough, that you’re unworthy or lazy or ugly or dumb. You’ve relegated Drunk Greg/monkey brain from the passenger seat to the trunk where it can’t bother you (or maybe even dropped off on the curb somewhere; a girl can dream!)
What would you accomplish if you didn’t have a voice telling you you couldn’t?