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We’ve all been there: you’re having a bad day or a rough week and negative, self-deprecating, or ugly thoughts take a hold of you. You sink into these toxic comments about yourself, letting them take over until your vulnerable emotions turn even worse. Not only do these thoughts create a horrible spiral inside you, but they also make you feel that you are completely alone – no one else can feel as terrible as you do.
Once you begin to feel better, however, you realize that we all think ugly thoughts sometimes. Whether these comments are about ourselves or the people around us, it’s easy to let stress and anxiety take over your emotions and send you on a rollercoaster of negativity. But just in case you still feel alone inside your own head, here is a list of toxic, ugly thoughts we all have sometimes (and new perspectives to help us get through them).
Other People’s Successes are My Failures
One of the most prevalent ugly thoughts when you’re having a bad day is believing that other people’s successes are your failures. When you’re having a hard time at school or work, constantly making mistakes, or simply feeling like you don’t belong, it can be hard to have a friend tell you about their own successes. While your friend may not be trying to make you feel bad – they simply want to share a positive moment in their life with you – it can be hard not to feel like other people have life easier than you do or are somehow better than you.
But one person’s success isn’t another person’s failure. Even if you’re trying for the same thing – for example, your friend is doing better at the same type of job that you have or is improving in a class where you’re struggling – not everyone will be equally as successful in every endeavor.
Just because you aren’t doing as well as someone else doesn’t mean you’re failing. Your strengths may simply lie somewhere else, or you might just need more time to improve. We are all individual people moving at our own pace, and it’s important not to compare your successes and path in life to other people.
I’m Not a Good Person and Other People Are Going to See That
Whenever I’m feeling particularly anxious or sad, one of the ugly thoughts that tries to sink me further is believing that I’m not a good person. My mind tells me that I am a “bad” person or simply unimportant and that the people around me are going to realize that about me.
However, this may be one of the silliest negative thoughts simply because what does it even mean? What is a “good” person vs a “bad” person, and who am I to decide those definitions for everyone around me? Maybe my idea of a “good” person is incredibly different from someone else’s, and therefore how I view myself is nothing like how someone else views me. Or maybe, the people around me aren’t even considering me in the label of “good” or “bad” – I am simply a person that they enjoy being around.
If you start to hear the voice inside your mind telling you that you aren’t a good person, don’t listen to it. Not only is it most likely incredibly wrong, but there’s no real definition for what makes a good person. As long as you’re doing your best and treating other people with kindness and respect, you’re a much better person than that voice tries to tell you that you are.
My Friends Don’t Really Like Me
This negative comment most often ties in with “I’m not a good person” and “I have no redeeming qualities” (because ugly thoughts are a never-ending chain). Sometimes when you are feeling really emotionally vulnerable and all you can think about are your own self-deprecating thoughts, it can be hard to believe that other people see something different in you. When your mind is telling you that you’re not good enough, it can be easy to believe that everyone else thinks so, too.
At the end of the day, however, the people around us rarely view us the way we do. While we may feel like we have nothing much to offer, they might see us as someone full of life who makes their days better and brighter. You don’t get to decide how you look to someone else – either positively or negatively – so there’s no point in adding this negative comment to the list of reasons you’re stressed. So simply take a breath and live as your truest self – this is the best way to find happiness within yourself.
I Have No Redeeming Qualities
One of the most common ugly thoughts, sometimes it can be so easy to convince yourself that you have no redeeming qualities. This doesn’t always mean saying that you are a “bad” or “unlikable” person – this could also be telling yourself you’re average or unspecial, that there’s nothing about you that’s redeeming or interesting.
But believing that you have no redeeming qualities or that there’s nothing interesting about you is oversimplifying yourself: people are full of so many layers and colors. We are all so complex and fascinating in our own ways – maybe you have an extensive collection of rare Star Wars action figures, or maybe you’ve memorized every line to “Moulin Rouge.”
Do you know a lot of interesting facts about whales? Are you able to sing in six octaves? Did you take piano lessons for twelve years and can now play entire Beethoven symphonies with your eyes closed? I know some of these examples may seem silly, but the things about you that seem simple or irrelevant to you might be incredibly fascinating or interesting to someone else. There’s more to you than even you may realize, so don’t hold back from letting people in and learning all the beautiful colors that make up who you are.
I am Not Enough
Another one of the most common ugly thoughts, I think we all believe that we are not enough at least once or twice in our lives. Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not rich enough, not good enough – we’re all lacking some important missing piece and are somehow incomplete without it. But instead of asking ourselves what makes us less than enough, try considering the question “enough for who?”
Who are we trying to prove ourselves to? Our families and our friends, our bosses, coworkers, or strangers on the street? Or do we have something to prove to ourselves, are we not good enough to look into the mirror every day and feel content about the person we see?
Here’s the truth: you are more than enough. You have so much to offer the world and you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. As long as you are living a life that makes you happy and satisfies your needs, then there’s nothing missing. Even if your life looks different from everyone else, that’s okay. Not all stories have to be the same to still be worth reading.
Failure Means There is Something Wrong with Me
If you’re anything like me, then one of the most common ugly thoughts you have is “failure means there is something wrong with me.” Whether it’s making a mistake at work, not having the energy to go to the gym after you finish an exhausting shift, or not feeling like you’ve been a good friend/mother/person to the people around you, every “failure” is just more proof that you are damaged and there’s something wrong with you.
If you take nothing else away from this article, I hope you’ll at least remember this: there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. There’s nothing wrong with needing to rest or with putting yourself and your needs first. It’s okay to “fail” sometimes because it helps you to grow and become stronger. Also, it’s just human nature. We all make mistakes sometimes. We all fall behind or trip up or have to start over. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you – it simply means you’re still growing.
I hope this article helps you to find a new perspective when it comes to negative, ugly thoughts. Or, at the very least, I hope it helps you realize that you’re not alone.
Do you have any comments or advice for dealing with negative, self-deprecating, or ugly thoughts? Tell us in the comments!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.
I like the reminder that other people’s success is not my failure. It’s good to always remember that.
These days it’s really hard to stay positive, especially without the support of friends and family.
It seems like we’re all living in a twilight zone and morals and what’s right has gone out the window.
I get so sick and tired of seeing those who do wrong get everything in life. I was brought up with the lesson that hard work pays off… These days this does not seem to apply, sometimes I wish we all had a time machine to go back and see if we could do it better. I guess we just have to try to get up each day and swallow down what life throws at us and those around us and just have to deal with it.
My 21 year old constantly has these thoughts unfortunately. Thanks for the article, I am going show it to her so she will know she is not alone in dealing with this, that help is available and that there is hope.
thanks for the enlightenment! this was an amazing read ! i love the way you talked about changing perspective in those situations! you’re blog is amazing ! super informative and helpful!
Feeling like I am not enough is the negative thought I struggle with on a regular basis. Thanks for reaffirming that I am more than enough.
Thanks you for the wonderful post. People can be a let-down sometimes. Sometimes I like my own company !
This is a great blog and certainly excellent information to consider as most of us have these thoughts at one time or another.
Failing is one of the ways we learn. My husband tutors students in math and often tells them that FAIL really stands for First Attempt In Learning. He reminds them that it is okay to fail and that the real thing that matters is what they do with that failure. Do they let it get them down or do they use it as a learning experience and way to find later success?
I have been burned by so many people, that I prefer to have no friends or family. I am perfectly happy to be by myself with my cats. I’m not rude to people but I don’t want to engage in conversation with anyone.
I feel like how we handle our thoughts are based on how we were raised. It gets hard when you dont have the emotional support system so you gather so much in your head and you don’t know what to do.