“I’ll never be good enough, no matter how hard I try”
If you’ve received a lot of criticism in the past, it can be easy to believe that you’re a failure but that belief can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, creating a cycle of the fear of failing that holds you back from trying. Then that fear is reinforced if/when you don’t succeed, Dr. Stein says.
Reframe it: “I am good enough to try and failure is just part of learning, not a statement about who I am.”
“If I can’t do it perfectly, it’s not worth doing”
Having a perfectionist mindset is a quick way to torpedo your happiness and progress. “Many people overestimate the probability that they will not do well or assume a negative result which can lead you to avoid doing things altogether or not put forth your best effort,” says Flo Leighton, RN, certified mental health nurse practitioner and therapist with Union Square Practice. These are the clear signs you’re a perfectionist—and it’s ruining your life.
Reframe it: “Trying something new is always worthwhile even if I don’t get it exactly right.”
“My boss thinks my work sucks”
Everyone worries about their performance at work sometimes but trying to anticipate your boss’s reaction or put words in his or her mouth will just make you anxious and unnecessarily stressed out. Instead, look for real evidence of how you’re doing and focus on your strengths, Leighton says. Talk to your boss, read through your performance review, and get an outside opinion to help you look at your work realistically.
Reframe it: “My boss gives me constructive criticism on how to make my work the best it can be.”