Podcast Episode 32 – Give Yourself An “F”

Jul 1, 2023 | Podcast

I’m Diana Swillinger, and this is the Renew Your Mind Podcast episode 32 Give Yourself An “F”. 

DIANA: Hey. Hey. What’s up, people? Today I want you to give yourself an F. That’s right, give yourself an F. We evaluate ourselves all the time. Basically, this will probably just happen for as long as we’re alive. It’s just one of the functions of our brain. But many times we end up using this evaluation function to grade ourselves to the degree where we’re passing negative judgment on ourselves. I cannot tell you how many women I talk to that are really good at shaming themselves for not doing it right, not doing more, not being perfect, not seeming perfect, making a mistake or inadvertently offending someone or thinking they’re letting other people down. So many women I work with are doing this, and they’re shaming themselves for it.


If you’re doing it, let me tell you first, I want you to stop it, but give yourself grace for it because you’re normal. We all do this to an extent, but let’s see if we can lighten up a little bit on ourselves, okay? It’s just something we’re used to doing. It’s something we’re really good at. We are good at judging ourselves. We’re all over it. We’re not good enough. Okay? We’re always looking for evidence of this, but let me just check in with you. If you were to grade yourself right now on how good you were doing at your life or an aspect of your life, what grade would you give yourself? B minus, C plus? D? A lot of you would probably give yourself enough or at least certain areas of your life you’re like, maybe I’m getting a B minus over there and a C there, and that is definitely an F. And when we think of F, we’re thinking of fail. Don’t you love it? In the schools? They go ABCD, they skip E, and they just take you right to F so they could make it match the word fail. So we could be very clear. But now that we’re adults, we’re not in school. We’re passing judgment on ourselves. We’re grading ourselves and giving ourselves an F. Does that kind of self judgment, that is so harsh. Does it help you improve? Does it help us? I think of my boys in high school. Overall, they’ve all done pretty well. I’m not going to compare. 


They struggle on some things and do great in others, but they’re boys, and it’s high school, and they’ve all had this point where they’ve gotten an F at some point, and how do you think they responded? If you think that, they were like, oh, that’s so inspiring. I’m so inspired to work harder now, you’re wrong. That F was not filling them with confidence. It didn’t make them think, I’m going to succeed now. I love me. I’m awesome. I’ve got this. To the contrary. Usually having the grade of F brought them to think things like, I’m so in the hole. I’m too far behind. It’s too hard. I can’t do it. I just want to give up. What’s the point? Don’t we end up thinking those same things as adults? I’m too far behind. It’s too hard. I can’t do it. What’s the point? I just want to give up. I just coached somebody a couple of weeks ago, and she told me she thought she was failing at her job. So I asked her, what thought are you having when I’m asking you what’s the problem with your job? And her real main thought was, they think I’m doing it wrong. I asked who’s they? And she said it was her superiors and her coworkers. Basically, she kind of thought everyone she worked with thought she was doing it wrong. That’s what her brain gave her. 


She didn’t question it. Uh, she just believed it. I said, okay, now that we know that’s the thought, what do you feel when you think that? She said she felt inferior or like a failure? Great. I said, you think that they think you’re doing it wrong and then you feel inferior? She said yes. Okay, next question. What do you do? What kind of things would you do if you were at your job thinking, they think I’m doing it wrong, and then you were feeling inferior? Would it help you enjoy your job? Would you get better at completing your tasks? Would it be helping you stay focused? Would it help you at all? When I asked my client, what do you do? She said, Well, I get kind of paranoid that people are watching me and judging me. I get distracted. I don’t complete my projects. I sit at my desk. I ruminate about the thoughts that I’m failing or that I’m doing it wrong. So I just ask, does this help you? Is this helping you show up at your job the way you want to, or is it interfering? She said it’s interfering. Exactly right. Can you see it happening when we’re outside of somebody else’s experience? Like when I give you her example, you can kind of see it happening, but the same thing happens with you. 


Our thoughts create our emotions, and out of our emotions, we behave. It’s how it works. Telling herself she was failing or that other people thought she was failing wasn’t serving her. It wasn’t even true. I asked her if anyone at her job ever told her they thought she was doing it wrong. Guess what she said? She said, no. Nobody ever told her that she was doing it wrong or that they thought she was doing it wrong, her thinking that wasn’t even true. She just made it up. This is why it’s so important. Y’all, uh, we have to question what we’re thinking. We can’t just let the thoughts happen. We need to be proactive in choosing what we want to think. We can’t just stand automatic pilot up there in our brain. It’ll do all sorts of stuff like this. We spin all these stories and we think they’re true. She had no idea what other people were thinking. She couldn’t read their minds. They never said it. But even if that thought was true, it doesn’t serve her. 


Because what happens when she thinks it? When she thinks it, she feels inferior. And then she shows up even less, like who she wants to be at her job now. This episode is called Give Yourself an F. And I just showed you that giving yourself an F doesn’t work. Though I should also add that when you have healthy esteem, when you are advanced at self love, when you get good at feeling humility, when you’re good at managing your mind and you no longer judge yourself harshly, eventually giving yourself an Ah F for failing isn’t really a big deal anyway. Like all the people on the internet say, failing is just what we do on the way to succeeding. But failing stops being a way to beat ourselves up and shame ourselves. When we’re good at loving ourself and we have a healthy esteem, it stops being a way to fuel self pity or to feel discouraged. 


Because when you get good at accepting and loving yourself and you take care of your own needs, the concept of failing, or thinking you’re failing, it just becomes a stop on the way to figuring it out. Or it just is. It means figuring it out. That’s why I want you guys to give yourself an F. I don’t want you to give yourself an F for failing. I want you to give yourself an F for figuring it out. And no more beating yourself up for all the ways you think you’re failing as a person. Instead, from now on, I want you to give yourself an F for figuring it out. And celebrate with patting yourself on the back or doing an end zone dance. Anybody here of an end zone dance? I need to make one up. I should have one. That would be fun, right? For my own celebration, I’m going to do that. F is for figuring it out. That’s what we’re all doing anyway. All us people here on Earth, none of us are perfect. All those people in your life that you think have it together, they totally don’t. Well, maybe in some ways they totally do. Some things they figure it out. But most of it, they’re still figuring it out. Is it possible that every time you think you didn’t do it right. You could be wrong about that. Maybe it was the exact way you should have done it in order to figure things out. Doesn’t that make sense? When you want to get a new skill, do you have it immediately? Boom. Um, got the skill. Or do you have to learn and you keep trying and you figure it out? When you start a new job, you don’t know all the things yet, right? 


Some things you might have some experience in, or you pick up really quick and you do them right, and some things you do wrong, and you figure it out. Have you ever decided to let someone figure it out on their own? If you’re a parent, I know you’ve done this right? My son forgot to bring his band instrument to school more than once. But I’m thinking of one instance where there was an important practice and he had to play, and he forgot his instrument. There were a couple of times I already brought his instrument on different days that he forgot. So this time, when he texted me and asked me to bring it, I said, no, I’ll let him figure it out. I could have just said to him, you failed. You didn’t bring your instrument. You did it wrong. I’d never did. I said, you didn’t bring your instrument and you figured it out. Awesome. That’s how he learned. I had the privilege of spending weekends on the lake when I was growing up. And when I learned to water ski, my dad helped me. He told me over and over again, arms straight. Do not bend your arms. Arms straight. Resist the temptation to bend your arms, because when you bend your arms, your whole body position changes. It kind of makes your whole body straighten up, so your arms are bent, then your whole body goes straight. You lose your balance, and you fall backwards. So guess what I did the first time I got up out of the water? I’ve bent my arms and I toppled backwards into the water. And my dad told me several times, but I needed to figure it out for myself. I wasn’t failing. I was figuring it out. This is how we learn. 


It’s how we learn, you guys, we attempt things, and sometimes it doesn’t go the way we planned, so we try again. Now, if I was trying to learn how to water ski, and then each time I fell, I thought, I’m not good enough. I failed. I would feel inadequate and likely give up. I’ve seen people do this with things. I could have made excuses, or I’d say, Swimming, uh, is fun. I’m good over here. I’ll just keep swimming. I don’t need to ski. We always encourage people to believe they can do it instead of thinking they’ll never get it. It’s what we do for other people, right? When they think they’re failing and aren’t good enough, we encourage them. Listen. When we think we’re failing and are not good enough, we feel defeated and we give up. But when we think we’re figuring it out, we stick to it. Just like the thought I’m failing makes you feel inadequate, the thought I’m figuring it out leads to feelings, too. It leads to things like feeling capable or encouraged or hopeful, committed. I’m figuring out how to ski. I’m figuring out how to do a new job. I’m figuring out a new skill. I’m figuring out how to communicate with my teenager.


Whatever it is, every time one of my clients tries out that, um, I’m figuring it out phrase or thought in their life, they tell me it leads them to feeling capable and confident. Semantics, people. The story we tell ourselves matters. When the story is, I’m getting an F because I’m failing, we feel inadequate. But when the story is, I’m getting an F for figuring it out, we feel capable. When we show up from a place of feeling inadequate, we don’t do our best. We don’t get the outcome we want. We end up judging ourselves. We give up. And it feeds this cycle, this perpetual cycle of frustration, aka. Being stuck. I’ve been there. I live there for years. But when you show up from a place of feeling capable, we give ourselves grace. When we don’t get it right the first time, we allow ourselves to learn and grow. We encourage ourselves. We keep pursuing the life that we want, and we learn how to appreciate ourselves and our efforts. So this week, giving you homework, I am challenging you to give yourself an F for figuring it out. 


Anytime you think you’re not doing it right, don’t be hard on yourself. Remember, you’re figuring it out. Notice when it didn’t go exactly how you wanted it to. Give yourself an F. Tell yourself, I’m figuring out how to do this. Notice when you tried and didn’t get the result you wanted and give yourself an F. You’re figuring it out. Keep figuring it out. That is just the journey of life, y’all. No need to bash yourself or tell yourself you’re failing. You tell yourself you’re figuring it out, all right? And keep being your amazing self. You’re doing great. All right, y’all, that’s it for today. I will catch you next week. Take care of you. 


As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call. 


Hey there, Diana. Here. I just wanted to let you all know I have a free monthly webinar again this month, and it’s on how to improve any e relationship. That’s for October 2020, but I always do free monthly webinars new topic each month. Go to rympodcast.com and scroll down to free monthly webinars to find the registration page and I will see you there.

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