My Zero Tolerance Policy
Special K has been reading my mind. Yes, the cereal company has been inside my brain. They recently released a video that's gone viral depicting women entering an unusual clothing store. The women enter the store, start perusing the aisles and eventually begin to read the tags on the clothes. They quickly notice the tags are unusual. In fact, the signs are as well. They read, "Feeling so disgusted about my figure today! #cow" and "I look fat in this."
The women's faces tell the whole story: they're horrified. Yet, when they begin to talk about it, they know they've said these very same things to themselves time and time again.
I caught myself in a similar moment recently. I was telling myself that I wasn't good, giving and kind enough. And immediately, I caught myself. "That is not true," I told myself. I do a lot of things for many people. I'm generous and helpful. I am also encouraging. That's a gift so many people don't get nearly enough in their lives, and one I love to lavish upon friends, family and strangers.
But the moment caught me by surprise. Not for the negative thought - they don't surprise me. After all, I come up with them. At least the ones that come to my mind.
No, the bit that surprised me was how quickly I was able to shut down the thought and tell myself the truth. It's far too easy to fall into a pit of self-pity. It takes a lot of discipline to shut down that line of thinking.
And that got me thinking.
There are just some things that I think I should have zero tolerance for. And here are some of the notorious ones I think we should eliminate altogether.
1 - "I'm not good enough." The problem with this mentality is that you just don't realize that every single person thinks the same thing. Unless we're totally delusional, we all have facets of our lives where we feel completely inadequate.
When I first learned this lesson, it was so liberating for me. I was a teen and had wasted much of my youth trying to impress people in an attempt to get them to like me. When I realized others had the same fears, I stopped trying and just focussed on being myself. And I attracted friends who liked me for me. I saved a lot of effort, worry and energy.
2 - Conversely "I'm too good" is another thought I have zero tolerance for. The entitlement mentality has permeated our culture and I find that the smarter, more self-aware I become, the more I fall victim to this trap. Oh, yes. I can see everyone else's problems. I can diagnose like the best of them. I can judge and condemn.
And once I start, I become the worst person out there! At least being a bit simple or naive has a charm and innocence about it. Being a self-righteous jerk has no upside.
3 - "Nothing ever works out for me". Well, you could say that. We all could. But it's far more likely that "an unfortunate string of things haven't quite worked out the way I would most desire". That's probably far more accurate.
But as bad as we think we have it, there are always things to be thankful for. It's been proven too that an attitude of thanks is one of the most telling indicators of how happy a person is. The more thankful, the happier the person.
4 - Perhaps one of the most pervasive and destructive thoughts, however, is the idea that "I don't fit in" or "Im not loved/ appreciated". We all want to be loved and known, to feel like we fit in somewhere and that others accept us. But it is far too easy to say we don't fit in.
If I were to assemble a random group of 100 people and ask each individual if they felt they fit in, I bet each person could come up with a reason why not: "I'm fatter than all the others", "I smoke and the others don't", "I've had such-and-such history - They'd never understand".
Yes, it's true no one will ever fully understand you. Yes, it's true that people will put labels on you that don't fit. Whether we like it or not, that's how people organize data. But it's a lie that you don't fit in anywhere.
And if you are finding this time and again, that people don't want to hang out with you, I'd challenge; are you contributing to their experience in some way, or are you just trying to take care of your own needs? There are times when we all rely on the charity of others, but if you're constantly taking and never giving back (of your time, energy, support, interest or finances), then you're not just trying to fit in, you're trying to take advantage.
The fact is that we should all have a zero-tollerance policy for these thoughts, and many more. There should be no indulging any of them. They're destructive, hurtful, and most importantly, not true!
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