People create hurtful experiences for themselves with self-inflicted negative thoughts. These thoughts are basically cruel indictments. It's a common human tendency and I hear it from my clients. Self-criticism comes in a variety of forms and manifestations but by definition, they’re punishing doubts related to ones abilities, actions and self.
THE STORIES IN OUR HEAD
Harsh self-inflicted judgments create a dark, gloomy internal dialog that stomp out positivity. In this state, the development of personal dreams and wishes are obstructed and thwarted. Ultimately (and ironically), harsh thinking is ‘utilized' to protect oneself on some level but it counterproductive!
KNOW YOUR BELIEF DEMONS
But there are ways to turn self criticism around. With my clients, we get familiar with their critical 'belief demons'. A dear friend of mine calls her dark thoughts RATS (random awful thoughts). Labeling the thought is a powerful start to transforming them.
IT'S NOT THE WHOLE STORY
When clients notice their critical thinking, they recognize that they can choose to believe or listen to them or not. I ask them to look at the thoughts from new vantage points. In that process, it becomes clear that their critical thinking isn’t the whole truth about the circumstance. Generally, they recognize that they have embellished the negative and omitted the neutral or positive.
FIND A NEW CONVERSATION
Then in a variety of ways, we work on blowing off the untrue pessimism and criticisms. We develop a new set of kinder and more generous thoughts that are true. With time and attention, the conversation shifts toward confidence and optimism. This is when growth is available and meaningful possibilities emerge.
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