#reverb10 prompt, day 21: Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

Note to self:

Stop comparing yourself to others. All the reading online and finding new blogs that you do is nothing but destructive. You discover a new person online whose writing brushes up against what you aim for, and instantly let defeat creep into your brain. You scour that person’s site, trying to glean ideas for your own site. You waste so much time scouring other people’s sites that you don’t write or work on your own site. What is wrong with you? The first thing you should do every day is write your own stuff — worry about you. Don’t take in anything until you have done your work. No online reading — blogs, Facebook, Twitter — allowed until you have done your work. When you get to ThinkHouse, the first thing you should do is your work. Your work is to write. Write stories from your life that will help other women. Write stories from the lives of others that will also help women. Do this work first, then — and only then — may you investigate the work of others. The work of others should not determine your work. It may influence your work, but it may not determine your work.

Stop worrying about what others do. You seem to apply this mentality when it comes to other areas in your life — with coworking and ThinkHouse; with artwork; with music; with faith and spirituality — you keep your head down and quietly do your thing: whatever strikes your fancy. Take ThinkHouse for example. You never concerned yourself with what others were doing. You focused on the workspace that you want. You focused on the community that you want. You focused on building relationships with people that you want to work with. You didn’t get distracted by the noise coming from so-called competition. So why do you worry so much about other writers, what they write, how often they write? The only writer you should concern yourself with is you. Keep your head down, quietly do your thing: write whatever strikes your fancy.

Stop obsessing about the future. Focus on the now. What can you do today that will move you one step closer toward that future you envision? Do that, and nothing else. Write. Publish. Repeat. The only thing you can control is what you do with the time you have — today. You cannot control how things will turn out in a year from now, let alone in seven years from now. Who knows. The thing you’re working on now may not even exist in seven years. But if you knew that, would you stop working on it? Would you not even try to make it the biggest success you’ve ever known? Would you give up? Quit? No. You would tell yourself that the future hasn’t happened yet, so there is still an opportunity to be successful. You would attempt to alter the future.

Stop being depressed. Do something about it. You can change your mood. Go to a tanning booth. Better yet, get a light therapy lamp. Exercise. Get some fresh air, even when it’s cold outside. Spend more time with friends and people whose company you enjoy. Go to places that inspire you, like the art museum or the park or the coffee shop or the balcony at your own house. It’s like depression gives you an excuse to feel sorry for yourself and justify your pissy mood. Well, knock it off. Who do you think you are, anyway? There are millions of people in the world who are a lot worse off than you are, and you have the audacity to be depressed because you filed for bankruptcy? At least you have the luxury of that protection.

Stop blaming others for your unhappiness. You may think you’re allowed to be sad because you miss your friends and because you tell yourself that they don’t have time for you. But the reality is that it’s no one’s fault but your own. And you know it. If you miss your friends, then call them already. Take the initiative to make plans with them. Same goes for when you’re annoyed and stressed because the house is a mess or you feel disorganized. You can’t point your finger at your roommates or the cat or your boyfriend or anyone. Is the mess bothering you? Clean it. Do you feel scatter-brained and frazzled? Take a day off. Make time to organize. But if you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t have time to clean or organize, then just remember that no one schedules appointments on your calendar except for you. You choose how to spend your time, whether it’s with friends, cleaning, organizing or sitting on the couch eating cinnamon pita chips and watching 10 episodes of Friends in a row.

Bottom line: you know what you have to do, so focus and get to it already.

2 thoughts on “negative self-talk isn’t always a bad thing

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