My cousin is proud of me, I was confused, I'm not the person I used to be, I don't 'do' anything much anymore because I can't so what on earth had I done to make her proud of me? I asked her? I won't go too much into her reply as obviously it is personal to both her and me but it got me thinking, why is it that we don't see in ourselves what others see in us? It took me a while to accept that what she was saying was right and she was actually talking about me, yes me.
Last year I wrote a 'daily thought' for Twitter, some liked it and I daresay it annoyed others but I said I would do it for a year and I did, this reminded me of the very first one i wrote on January 1st 2010
Why are we so open to critisism and so closed to praise?
If my cousin had said something really negative to me I am sure I would have accepted it without question, but Because it was a positive statement I had to check it out. Why? And what was my thinking behind the thought of the day on that day?
There are really two points here, one is the fact that we never see ourselves as others see us and the other is our inability to just accept praise with a thank you but to grasp eagerly with both hands any criticism levelled at us.
I was surprised how many of my clients came to me with a view of themselves so far removed from what I saw that I started to use an exercise that proved highly successful in getting them to question their distorted view. I asked them to ask friends,family,colleagues to write a statement of who they knew my client to be, they were to be brutally honest and could write them anonymously if they wanted.
When we read these statements together in a session they were astonished with how they were being described, yes there were often negatives in there but never said in a way to hurt,more to empower and mostly these people would describe the very positive attributes of the person. It's what I used to call evidencing, if you believe yourself to be good or bad in a certain way where is your evidence?
I could carry on with this but had no intention of writing a counselling book when I started this blog so back to the point of this blog.
There are obviously different degrees of low self esteem and therefore some people are more negative about themselves than others but with very few exceptions we are all more inclined to see the negatives first where as others will look at your positives first, isn't it true that we all want to see and look for the good in people? Where do you come on that scale? Try listing as many positive attributes about yourself as you can and then list the negatives you believe you have, which side wins?
As to the issue of accepting praise, I believe the reasons are the same plus added in there the belief that it's somehow 'not nice' to appear smug or big headed so we play down the good stuff when it gets pointed out instead of just accepting the praise that we are due. So next time someone pays you a compliment or praises you for whatever reason don't be embarrassed, dont play it down and thereby diminish it, say thank you kindly and preen for a bit, you deserve it.
Yes Cuz you should be proud of me as I am proud of you for who you are.
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