“OMG I’m such an idiot.”
“Oh no! I’m the worst!”
“I’m no good when it comes to **insert task here**”
“I’m sorry!”
“I SUCK at **insert thing here**”

Does this kind of thing sound familiar to you? Do you say things like this? Do you have friends who say things like this? How often do you say things like this about yourself? How often do women say things like this about ourselves? My answer? TOO OFTEN.

Say Something Nice Afrobella

Recently I spent time with a fabulous group of ladies. Beautiful, smart, accomplished, go-getters all of them, each with a different skill in a different arena. I found myself listening to the conversation instead of being an active participant, and that was the kind of self depreciation and self flagellation that I observed them all doing. And this was over the course of an afternoon, when the conversation shifted from topic to topic. No matter what we talked about, the words remained the same. It made me sad, brought my spirit down and made me wonder where this kind of thing comes from. Why do we tear ourselves down so often? And most of the women I was with didn’t even realize how negatively they were talking about themselves, or how many times they automatically apologized for things that weren’t even their fault. It’s become second nature.

The things we wouldn’t say about or to someone else, we say to ourselves. Ladies, we need to STOP.

Some of us do this negative self-talk thing too often, and there are layers of meaning behind it that need to be considered. Why do so many women tend to be so self depreciating (and not just when making a joke)? I think it begins with a lack of confidence in ourselves and our abilities. We’re afraid that someone else will notice our deficiency or inability in a certain area, and so we get in front of that potential criticism by being critical of ourselves.

It’s a vicious cycle, and for me, it’s a way to continue talking myself down to the point where the thing I’m saying about myself has become my truth. Am I terrible at math because I really am just terrible at it, or is it because I’ve been repeatedly telling myself (and others) that I’m terrible at it? It becomes a kind of self-fulfilling statement.

I’m trying harder to be more aware of my own negative attitude when talking about myself. I’m trying to do better when presenting myself to other people, not just for the impression I will leave behind but for my own self confidence. And not in a cheesy Stuart Smalley way.


But seriously though, everything he said is true.

I’m trying to wake up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror and SMILE at myself instead of saying “ugh,” or noticing my acne/grey hair/is that a new wrinkle, dios mio.

I’m trying to not make “sorry” my default word when I feel awkward or uncomfortable, and keep it for the occasions that truly require its use.

Instead of lamenting or criticizing myself for the things I’m not good at – because hey, we can’t all be good at everything – I’m trying to appreciate myself for the things I’m good at, and to celebrate the things about me that I like. On a given day that could be anything from “I made the BEST breakfast this morning,” to “I smell delicious right now!” to “I put my good foot in that blog post today.” If we don’t celebrate the small stuff, then who will? I’m trying to replace the negative with positive affirmations.

I’m also trying to pay it forward and let other women know that I see that special thing within them, too. And this is where it gets beautiful. Next time you see another woman who looks like she’s stressed out or having a bad day, smile at her. Make a bit of friendly conversation, and then if it feels right and natural in the flow of your exchange, genuinely compliment her on something. It might be her fly manicure, or her awesome earrings, or just “thanks, you’re doing a great job.” You are beautiful. It’s something small, but it can make a difference in someone else’s day.

Little acts of kindness make a big difference. Start with yourself. Be kind and gentle with yourself, and step off the self depreciating merry go round. What’s wonderful about YOU?

Tell me in the comments!


PS: I loved this post on xoJane about saying nice things about yourself – so on point!


pets says:
June 6, 2013, 11:57 am
Love this post! and have realised that I do this - can't say I do it all the time but yes I do it, so does Dominique - will do more to have the ladies both small and big stop this behavior. Thanks heaps!
bella says:
June 6, 2013, 12:21 pm
we have to speak positive affirmations about ourselves and self-actualize!
Moe a.k.a. @biggirlblue says:
June 6, 2013, 2:04 pm
I have a girlfriend who constantly calls herself stupid. It drives me nuts because she is far from it. She is the most creative person I know but no matter how much I tell her she doesn't really believe it. I think self-talk is so important and even if we don't believe it at first we should keep doing it. I totally believe in the fake it until you believe it mentality. And if we have friends who are hard on themselves we must correct them and not contribute (I think this goes for strangers too).
bella says:
June 6, 2013, 5:49 pm
agreed completely! And what happens is, you talk about yourself that way and then the people closest to you think you're ok with that and pick up from your cues and it becmes such a negative cycle. Hope you inspire your friend with positivity :)
Tracy says:
June 6, 2013, 5:51 pm
This is an area I am definitely working on. I've learned to be conscious of the way I speak, especially to myself because it is so important. If I slip and say something negative, I immediately affirm myself with something positive. Great post!
Elle says:
June 6, 2013, 7:43 pm
I so needed to read this today. It is something that I need to work on and try to do this more often.
bella says:
June 7, 2013, 7:47 am
So glad my words came out at the right time, then :)
Silk! says:
June 7, 2013, 9:51 am
"You? You of the awesome smile in every photo? How could you think that about yourself?" I could easily be asking myself that question, as well. I needed this message today. I've been self-bullying for far too long. Thank you.
LetsDance! says:
June 8, 2013, 7:33 pm
I know I am a big self bullier, but it's just like they say, you can be your own worst critic sometimes. But you should also check out this video on youtube called the Seven Lies You Believe about Yourself. I think the guy is fresh out of college, but he makes some very valid points I think anyone at any age could appreciate.
DLS77 says:
June 13, 2013, 8:59 am
This was so on point "Bella. I do negative self-talk often, even in small ways without realizing it. Thanks for the eloquent post as usual!
Brittney says:
June 18, 2013, 3:53 pm
This post really hit home with me. As I read it I really started to realize that I am guilty of treating myself like that. I constantly say "I'm sorry". It seems to be my favorite word. It comes out so naturally. I blame myself for all sorts of things that I probably shouldn't. I am going to make a conscious effort to tell myself how wonderful I am. If I don't feel that I'm pretty, wonderful or pleasant to be around then I won't think anyone else thinks that either. Thank you so much for the great advice and for shining some well needed light on this matter. :)
Jenn says:
October 8, 2016, 10:07 am
We really do need to be kind to ourselves. One of my favorite practices when a friend starts saying these things about themselves, I mimic what they're saying about themselves about me. For example they say, I'm horrible... I repeat it back about myself and wait for their response. Why would you say that about yourself? Then I'm silent. It dawns on them that that's exactly what they're doing to themselves. Thank you for bringing awareness to this important practice. To be aware of how we talk to ourselves.