Have you ever taken a moment to identify your thoughts? Our thoughts can run as loops in brain. They can color our perspective and our level of optimism and confidence. I see many patients who have difficulty seeing the best in themselves. A common question I ask is what’s good about you? All too often patients struggle with finding maybe one or two things to say. But if I ask that same patient what they don’t like about themselves they can provide a list ranging from their physical attributes to some perceived personality flaw. These beliefs are identified as negative cognitions. Their origins can often be traced back to past experiences. Maybe a parent of caregiver would say things like, “You are so stupid.” or “You will never be any good, just like your father.” Maybe a childhood bully in school made fun of you because of the awkward stages of childhood we all experience. Whatever the case, being aware of whether we have accepted a negative and false belief about ourselves is the first step in develop a better self image. What do you do once you have identified the negative beliefs you have held? • Decide to address them as lies. Look at the source of the lie. If the source was an abusive parent or a mean kid the odds are their assessment of you was based on their own dysfunction not the truth of who you are. • Begin to acknowledge and accept the good in you. While none of us are perfect we all have unique talents and qualities that make us use special. Begin to embrace the greatness that is in you. • Separate yourself from negativity. Do not allow people in your space who will reinforce negative beliefs. Surround yourself with people who can encourage and inspire you.
If you want to change the way you feel about yourself, first you have to change the way you think about yourself.” Gavin Bird
Author, Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC