How many times has your internal critic looked at your behavior or yourself and asked something like: What’s wrong with me? What was I thinking? How could I be so stupid?
My personal critic is stellar at such questions. One of my favorites was Dorothy’s curious query to the Scarecrow: “What would you do with a brain if you had one?” I said it out loud as a joke, figuring if I beat everyone to the punch at pointing out my stupidity it wouldn’t hurt as much. Only it wasn’t really funny and it hurt more deeply than I could have ever imagined. My self-protective ploy wasn’t really protecting me either, particularly since I might have been the only one noticing my presumed stupidity.
The habit was seriously detrimental in so many ways. Every time I thought or said such things, I was confirming and cementing the underlying beliefs that my brain didn’t work right and that I was defective, incompetent and stupid. I was also telling everyone else they should believe it too.
What we say to and about ourselves matters. It matters A LOT. Self-flagellation may be an ingrained response, but there are better ways to hold ourselves accountable and help ourselves do better next time.
Self-awareness is essential for personal growth–we must self-monitor in order to improve–but how we go about that can either leap frog us forward or keep us stuck. We become exceptionally good at seeing our faults, mistakes and bad decisions to the point that we can’t see anything else. We wind up in a never-ending loop of self-criticism that actually reinforces the negative beliefs we want to change.
It’s easy to automatically beat yourself up over a mistake or an ineffective choice. But instead, stop and say something like, “Wow, what an experience! It didn’t work the way I thought it would, but it sure gave me a much better idea what will get me what I want. I love how every decision brings me new and helpful insights!”
It really is all in how you look at things–and what you tell yourself about your experiences. So, if you catch yourself thinking or saying, “What’s wrong with me?” stop right where you are and ask this question instead: “What’s RIGHT with me?” Shifting your mind’s focus to look for the good can get you out of the downward spiral and help you see new options, opportunities and solutions.
So, take a moment and think about what’s right about you and your life right now. What have you accomplished that you tend to forget about? What good has come from your actions? How did you get where you are right now? What did you do that moved you forward and brought the good things you have in your life now? What’s gone RIGHT in your life? What’s RIGHT with you right now?
Wishing you the perfect holiday of peace, harmony and love!
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