A quick glance in my office reveals the fact that I like sticky notes! They are perfect and powerful by their size requiring only the specifics. Phone messages, relevant thoughts, quotes and appointments which need my attention in the near future but cannot be taken care of immediately fit perfectly on a sticky note.
The fact that they keep my memory refreshed and me organized is a definite plus for my sense of accomplishment. And the color options just plain make me happy.
Recently, I found a new use for these pretty little color swatches.
A coworker was having a difficult time locating key information on her computer which she needed to complete a task. I could hear her frustration growing as her search continued to lead to dead ends.
Finally, after spending much more time than she ever intended, the answer emerged, and according to her, it was an obvious solution which she should have found or thought of immediately.
Haven’t we all been there?
And instead of relief, what I heard was a statement of condemnation blurted in the moment of frustration, “I’m such an idiot!”
My heart immediately flinched, because what she was telling herself wasn’t true. She just didn’t have all the pieces to the puzzle to get to the end point. Instead of taking pride in her tenacity, she pronounced insult on herself.
She also had no idea I was within earshot. So, I grabbed one of my sticky notes, jotted down a quick encouragement and slapped it on her computer so it would be the first thing she saw when she returned from lunch. It’s exactly what I would want someone to do for me.
Now, I really don’t know how serious she was taking this insult, but I was definitely reminded of those times when I do the same thing to myself, especially in moments of frustration, disappointment, embarrassment and failure. Cutting words I would never use on someone else.
I shoot these nasty daggers straight into my own heart, never fully grasping their harm.
The truth is, we all do this.
Sometimes, we don’t even speak these insults out loud, but recite them in our mind and hide them in our heart until they slowly take root, choking our self-worth and distorting our self-image.
Usually, it’s not until we hear these destructive messages come out of someone else’s mouth that we are struck by the cruel reality of our own verbal pattern.
- I’m so stupid.
- I’m fat.
- I’m not worth it..
- I’ll never be that good.
- I can’t.
- I’ll always be alone.
- I’m not loved.
- I don’t deserve that.
- I’m too old.
Each of us could add to this partial list, and all of our self-deprecating messages have one thing in common. They are critical statements which slowly create a destructive cycle and lead to an unfulfilled future.
“I am stupid” → stated or thought → takes root in the heart → becomes a belief of self → produces unhealthy emotions →is acted out in everyday situations → impacts relationships with a negative dynamics → becomes a self-fulfilled prophesy of “I am stupid.”
All this from one seemingly harmless statement? Yes, and the process is ever so subtle.
So, how do we stop the cycle dead in its tracks?
- Be aware of the negative messages we place upon ourselves.
- Recognize these messages as lies.
- Replace the lies with truth statements.
- Act out the truth statements in our everyday situations and relationships.
Of course it is not always an easy process, and for most of us, we have been lying to ourselves for many years, living out life within our negative messages. It’s time to counteract these lies which threaten our joy and fulfillment in life.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
It’s time to claim our value!
Note to Self…Maybe it’s time to buy a new pack of sticky notes!