The world works in super mysterious ways. There is NO denying that. How do they get all the pumpkin into pumpkin spice lattes?! How are doggos so damn cute all the time?! Why even are cats?! Some things we may never know... However, one of those weird ways the world works is that you literally get what you believe you deserve.
It's an incredibly simple concept on the surface, but how do you change your legit beliefs? When you're deep in it, it's second nature to repeat the mantra "I don't deserve to be happy" or "nobody likes me, I don't even like me." I know that's where I was... and then some.
But think of it like this:
Person A) I believe that I'm not worth people's time and that I am a burden, or a hassle, constantly apologizing for saying something dumb or just cancelling plans altogether because I don't want to waste their time.
Person B) I believe that I have valuable thoughts and ideas. I am a pleasure to be around, and like to make people feel good about themselves and give lots of encouragement for good ideas they have. I am not a waste of time.
Who do you want to spend time with?
I think it's ridiculously obvious which person I wanted you to pick, but the truth is that it's one person, and EVERYONE has those two sides. It YOUR choice to believe which one you are. I know it's not as easy as just waking up and deciding which 'you' you will be today. I know how exhausting just getting out of bed some days is and that it just isn't in your power to mentally make these decisions all day, every day.
So start small.
When you hear that voice say "they think I'm so stupid," acknowledge that for what it is: a thought. It's not a fact. It's not the truth. The truth is that you have no idea what other people are thinking.
Practice recognizing thoughts for thoughts. Try to mentally point them out. Keep going.
When you hear that voice say "they think I'm so stupid," correct it while trying to think rationally. You stumbled over your words during a presentation? Maybe they thought you were really nervous. Maybe they thought you were distracted. They probably didn't think you're stupid.
You're on a roll - don't stop now.
When you hear that voice say "they think I'm so stupid," remind yourself that you're bigger than a passing thought, more complex and deep. You're a whole person - remind yourself of good qualities you have, no matter how small. You're nice. You are a great listener. And you're not stupid.
Practice, practice, practice.
Eventually, you'll stop hearing that voice. You will have taught it that it has no place in your brain, it doesn't serve you anymore. It'll be replaced with, "I'm intelligent, I just got a bit nervous, but I'll do better next time."
When I really, truly, believed I didn't deserve to be loved, I accepted being treated like shit. I had partners that lied to me, told me I was 'too needy' or that I shouldn't expect them to listen to my problems. I believed I deserved to be treated that way. Slowly, through an incredible amount of therapy, patience, practice, and WORK, I convinced myself that I did not need to accept that because I wasn't needy - I was having a hard time, and needed a little extra support. I believed that I deserved to be told the truth, because I was a nice, decent human being who deserved to be treated fairly. Slowly, just like those little thoughts, those people realized they didn't fit in my life anymore and went away. They were replaced by amazing partners, great friends, and supportive coworkers (Zac.)
And once you start to believe in yourself, and you see the changes happening magically* around you, it's impossible not to get swept away with it.
*it's not magic, it was you.