Thursday, September 6, 2018

on negative self-talk & reaching your goals.


I never thought I was a victim of "negative self-talk." That's not to say I don't have my own personal struggles; everyone does. But I didn't look at my list of "life goals" and think that I fell into the category of, "I suck at this, I'm not good enough, etc" because what's there to get down about? All of my goals were safe, attainable, manageable (get a job, buy a house, etc.).

Then I would read my friend's blog posts about writing down goals, reaching for the stars, going after what you want, etc. and I would think to myself, "well, that doesn't pertain to me. I don't have any big, unreachable dreams."

YIKES, I hate even typing that out...but hear me out.

Growing up, I wanted to be an actress. Actually, I just wanted to be Hilary Duff, but that's beside the point. I wanted to act. I took acting classes, signed up for drama every semester in high school, even begged my mom let me join one of those scammy "agencies." I looked up auditions for random stuff on craigslist, trying to work my way in.

My parents, however, are realists in the truest sense. They weren't about to up and move me to Los Angeles to pursue a far-out dream in my early teenage years (ahem, Taylor Swift's parents). I was constantly reminded that breaking into the acting world was beyond difficult, pretty much impossible. It wasn't that my parents were telling me, "you can't do it." But on the same hand, they weren't telling me that I was going to be the next Julia Roberts, so inevitably, we fought about the state of my stardom (or severe lack thereof). Long story short, they said finish college first and see what happens.

Based upon the sole fact that I've probably never mentioned acting on this blog, I think you'll find that I didn't pursue it. I'm not entirely sure what happened along the way. Maybe I got distracted by boyfriends and jobs. A part of me feels like, because it didn't fall into my lap, I let it fall to the wayside. It got too scary, or too difficult, or felt too far-fetched. And along the way, I became the kind of person who scoffed at my own dreams and said "right, good luck with that."

Again, YIKES. 

Acting is one thing. But what I haven't realized until very recently is that my scoffing takes on many forms in my daily life. A little voice in my head will tell me "oh no, we're not cut out for that," or "nope, can't handle it." My own personal brand of negative-self talk! I've told myself that I'm not cut out for the medical side of speech-language pathology, even though I successfully completed an internship at a hospital and maintained a complete caseload by myself. I've told myself that I could never sell art, or write a real book, or do anything outlandish when in truth, it's because I haven't actively tried for more than an hour, or a week. That is negative self-talk, if I've ever heard it. And I'll tell you what...

I'm over it.

Granted, I don't want this post to cast me in an entirely negative, lazy light. Let the record show that, for the last three years, my goal was to get into graduate school, graduate with a master's degree, and become a speech-language pathologist. All of which (da-da-da-daaaa) have been accomplished. But now I'm in the market for new dreams, and I'm in the process of figuring out what those are, whether they're easily attainable or totally outlandish. And once I figure that out, I want to start taking steps to really pursue them.

Because the truth is, the people who consistently pursue their seemingly "out-of-reach" dreams are a hell of a lot closer to reaching them than the people who sit around and wait for things to happen. In this day and age, we very often see someone's highlight reel with a less-well documented struggle. A thriving actor may have taken hundreds of minuscule roles before landing even a supporting role.  A watercolor print artist may have spent thousands of hours mixing colors and trying different techniques before something finally stuck and someone took notice. An author may write ten 500-page books before writing one that really "speaks" to the public.

My point (mostly to myself, but also to you): don't listen to the little voice inside your head telling you that you aren't cut out for something. You are literally the only thing stopping you. Scribble down your goals, think about what you need to get there, and just start. 






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