I have a problem.
It’s most apparent in my self-talk and I’m so accustomed to it, I almost never notice it; toxic as it is.
The common narratives run along the lines that I’m unemployable – that’s a really nasty one – or that I’m not very smart. Dumb. These are some of the ways I think about myself and, amazingly, this is something I actually have some control over despite the assumed emotional imperative to the contrary. The words and phrases whispering free in my mind chide me for not ‘saying the right things’ or being just on the wrong side of being too awkward and too weird.
Recently, while listening to Brooke Castillo, something she said really stood out to me;
‘Self-confidence comes from a growth-mindset, and a fixed-mindset destroys self-confidence’
The difference between making mistakes with a growth-mindset versus a fixed-mindset is that having a growth mind-set means accepting that mistakes will be made but we relish learning and figuring out how to fix those mistakes and learn from them. It also means that we’re not as afraid to try new things. Ecause we have the confidence of knowing that we can figure out mistakes as they happen and overcome obstacles as they appear- a fixed-mindset sees a mistake as evidence of something we believe to be true about ourselves. This leads to bitterness when others point something out about us, kindly or otherwise, because our defense has become “Can’t you just leave me alone?! This is just who I am!” Or, “it’s not my fault!”, “you think YOU are having a hard time with this? Try being me!” It gets pretty corrosive when we decide to fix our mindset on a certain belief, and we avoid doing anything where we might fail, thus avoiding the blistering condemnation of our fixed belief.
Fixed + mistake = ‘See? You really are dumb!, told ya!’
Growth + mistake = ‘knew it would probably happen, now let’s see what went wrong and how to fix it!’
Maybe my challenges are different than yours by type and degree, but it doesn’t really matter I think all of us plant a flag in the rich soil of self-doubt when we decide we just are a certain way. It’s like throwing your hands up and surrendering that; I actually am dumb, or bad with numbers, or bad at remembering names, or unemployable, instead of looking at all of those things with a ‘roll your sleeves up and get to work on it, for as long as it takes’-attitude.
I give up ground without even realizing it, using every little mistake as ‘proof’ of my self-destructive asssertions and, ultimately, not even trying anymore.. why should I…
“..it’s just the way I am!”