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Read more articles from Ron Tustin. For people itchy to make things better
Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on. – Bob Newhart
In the world of ‘helping ourselves’ and coaching there is one common theme – people wish to do it, people describe themselves as being like it and very many ‘self-help’ books give advice on how to get it – it is positive thinking.
We say that one of the underlying secrets of people who are successful is that they feel good about themselves and are free from self-doubt and insecurities. However in reality many successful people often have a high level of negative self-talk. Despite their low opinion of themselves, they've managed to fashion lives that many of us would envy. Yet the disconnection between their inner feelings about themselves and their outer success causes them to hold back from making changes that would lead to far greater fulfillment and peace of mind.
The Destructive Power of Negative Self-Judgments
No matter how accomplished we are, no matter how happy we may seem, we all hold on to negative self-judgments, and they hold on to us. They prevent us from discovering our power to change our lives for the better. When we switch to more positive thought patterns, crisis stops being overwhelming, and it's far easier to let go of resistance, tune in to our passions and inner resources, and move forward with confidence.
Positive thinking is indeed powerful. However the lesson is not to have unrealistic standards and expect to quickly transform what are often lifelong thinking habits. The object is to stop assigning meaning to these self-judgments, because once you start to give them weight, they begin to weigh you down. One aim is for us to learn to notice when they are tearing us down and we can then begin to change our habit of self-criticism.
Looking At It In a Different Way
Through practice and self-inquiry, we can see any negative self-judgments not as negative and not as positive, but just neutral and even see them in a far different light. If we are ‘self-centered’ or ‘selfish’ when we focus on solving inner conflicts, it can be seen as negative. But at times it's very important at times to direct our attention to ourselves and our needs. Only then can we be more available for others and ‘selfless’. Similarly, if we see ourselves as "weak," consider thinking of ourselves as sensitive to others' feelings.
I hope you find these ways of coaching your self – steps to deal with negative self-judgments- helpful. You may wish to write notes on them as you practice them.
1. Give the judgment a name. Some examples are "inadequate provider," "insincere," or "people pleaser."
2. Ask yourself “What is this self-judgment causing me to think or feel about myself?” Does it make you feel ashamed, angry, or guilty, for example? Notice whether the feeling supports your well-being, or works against you.
3. If it does not support you, find a remedy. Ask yourself, "Would I like to think or feel something different? What thought or feeling could I generate to shift myself out of this unwholesome state?"
4. Create a new thought, image, or feeling, and begin to hold on to it firmly. Experience it inside yourself. Feel a wholesome sensation, such as relaxation or excitement.
5. Assess whether you've shifted. Ask yourself, "Have I shifted out of the feeling, state, or thought that was unwholesome and let go of my negative self-judgment?" If you have, then enjoy the new sensations, feelings, and thoughts you've generated as a remedy.
We may never totally rid ourselves of our unwholesome self-judgments. However, we can alter their quality, learn from them, and either let them go or change them so that they no longer block us from a sense of well-being and openness to new possibilities. Hidden diamonds will appear when we let go of our negative-judgments. We will become more aware of the aspects of us we've been overlooking.
Please contact me at [email protected] if you wish to have a private conversation about how you can make this a habit and thrive in 2011.
To find yourself jilted is a blow to your pride. Do your best to forget it and if you don't succeed, at least pretend to. – Moliere.
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