As a therapist in Santa Barbara, one of my favorite things is helping my clients’ increase their self-esteem! So often when they start therapy, they see little of their own value. If I ask them to tell me what they like about themselves, they have to really think before they can come up with one or two things. If I were to ask them to tell me what the DON’T like, they would have no problem. Their inner critics are alive and well!
Right from the beginning, I listen carefully to how they talk about themselves. It isn’t difficult to find them being self-critical. When I bring their attention to something negative they’ve just said about themselves, nine times out of ten there’s no awareness of having said it. They’re so used to putting themselves down, that they don’t even know when they’re doing it.
After awhile they start to increase their awareness, and their tendency to be harsh and judgmental in their self-talk starts to lessen. I’m always encouraging my clients to be gentle and patient with themselves, just as they would be with others. We’re with ourselves 24 hours a day! We can do a lot of self-damage by being unkind and impatient.
Please try to listen for the subtle putdowns that you say to yourself. As you increase your awareness, try substituting a positive statement or affirmation. In time, you will develop a much softer, more accepting attitude toward yourself. Try it. It works! You’ll accomplish a lot more if you are supportive rather than critical. And you’ll be a whole lot happier doing it!
Until next time,