Saturday, July 10, 2010

Through the eyes of others

We can be our own worst enemies at times. In our minds we call ourselves words we would never dream of applying to anyone else in our lives: stupid, hopeless, pathetic, and worse. Something doesn't work out the way we'd hoped, we don't live up to our own (often ridiculous) expectations, and we let loose with the self-flagellation. I'm a loser, a failure, just not good enough. Why can't I do anything right?

Is that helpful? Does it motivate you? I'm betting the answer is no. It probably just makes you feel worse and drives you to repeat the same patterns of behaviour that led to this whole self-hatred scenario in the first place. Round and round and round you go....

If you're not enjoying this particular merry-go-round ride, then you need to get off it before you get so dizzy that you puke. That's usually easier said than done, because you've probably spent years developing all that negative self-talk, and you're unlikely to stop the habit just like that.

Here's something that I learned some time ago, that helped me to change some negative thoughts I'd worked really hard to cultivate over the years. Mmm, yeah, I was a champion at it. It's a simple principle, although it's harder than it sounds in practice.

Think about the people who love you, like you, value your skills and opinions, respect you. We all have a number of them in our lives: family, friends, work colleagues, members of sports teams or clubs we belong to, neighbours. At least some of these people see something worthwhile in you, and they can't all be idiots, can they?

Take some time, find somewhere quiet, close your eyes and pick one of them. Imagine they're standing in front of you, looking at you, and think about what they see. They don't see you as stupid, lazy, incompetent or hopeless. They see a person with a kind heart, or the ability to make people smile, or an incredible intelligence. They see someone worth loving.

And if the people you love deem you worthy of their love, respect and support, who the hell are you to argue?

The next time you catch yourself out starting in with the negative talk, stop and ask yourself: what would [insert name of husband/boyfriend/best friend/sister here] say to me right now? Aim to see yourself, and the situation, through their eyes. I can guarantee they'd be a lot kinder, more understanding and more forgiving towards you than you are to yourself.

Keep it up, set aside some time to see yourself through the eyes of others on a regular basis and eventually you may just get off that merry-go-round.


LizN said...

Great to see you ripping out some Kerryn brilliance. Heck you're inspiring me :)


Kek said...

Ha! I'm on a roll.

Nobody better get in my way or they might get run over.

Sarah said...

This is a great post. Most people do give negative self talk to themselves which causes less and less motivation. Motivation is the key to success and most people lose it after so little time. This technique is great especially for people who have trouble staying motivated with anything. Thanks!

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