Monthly Archives: January 2013

Any time you’re cutting yourself down, you’re wrong.

We should always have an understanding heart toward ourselves.

Self-criticism is learned—we don’t come out of the womb with that tendency. I’m talking about the self-esteem-destroying self-talk that buzzes around in one’s head endlessly. Like a virus that invades the brain, it constantly judges and condemns its host.

Infection takes hold early in childhood after repeated exposure to pathogens like belittling comments, looks of contempt, and ridicule. What happens is we start to believe what the virus is saying. It tells us such things as we’re bad for messing up, selfish for wanting something, cowardly for being cautious, mean for speaking up, weak for crying, and that we’re a failure for losing.

Daniel Gottlieb, one of my favorite authors, wrote in his book Learning from the Heart:

“Most of us have a part of our brain that observes our own behavior. But the observers lodged in our brains are neither objective nor compassionate. They’re more likely to be judgmental, always reminding us that we are not good enough. And so we criticize ourselves, judge ourselves, work harder, sleep less, or push our loved ones more . . . all in an effort to somehow be okay.”

What’s really sad is we give the virus more credibility than the nicer treatment and messages we receive from kind-hearted people. Their messages are seen as unreal and unbelievable.

The good news is that the virus can be annihilated. We can unlearn self-criticism.

Sophia—a client in her 20’s—is a good example. She began the process of unlearning by becoming aware of the constant babble of negative self-talk occurring in her head. Before that, she accepted it as a valid part of herself—it seemed to belong.

That’s all changed. Acting as her own ever-vigilant investigator, she’s determined to root out and destroy any belittling thoughts that rob her of self-esteem and joy in her life. How are they destroyed? By questioning the validity of any thoughts that tell her she’s defective, guilty, bad or inferior in any way. Increasingly, she’s the master of her opinions about herself, not her conditioned brain.

I’m proud of her!

Names used in this post are changed to honor client confidentiality.

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Filed under Client of the Week, Get Free

Different Shades of Love

Salee shrugging

In keeping with my virgin techie status, I’m a bit late to the Facebook party…. I got my Facebook page up right before my first blog the other day, but I didn’t get a link to it set up on here till later. So you’ll notice the addition of that little widget over there on the right, where you can like my Facebook page. Then, when I write another blog entry, you’ll get something in your newsfeed. I think. Honestly, I’m so confused at this point I hardly know whether I’m posting, blogging, surfing, liking, linking, publishing, or hyperventilating. But I’ll get there eventually. Just bear with me.  Now, for my “real” post:

I got this from a friend and just had to share it with all of  you. It’s a real heart-stirrer!

WHO SAYS DOGS DON’T HAVE SOULS?

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Filed under General Interest

Close Your Eyes and Jump!

As a therapist, I know that I often encourage my clients to try things that feel foreign to them.  You have no idea how foreign this is for me! I am a real, dyed-in-the-wool, genuine technophobe.  C’mon, I check my email twice a week!  True story, sometime back a client sent me an email requesting an appointment on a particular day, but I didn’t even read it until the appointed day had passed.  *sigh*

Another hat I enjoy wearing is my writer hat.  I wrote a newspaper column for fourteen years, and people have said to me, “I miss your columns!  When are you going to do more?”  The world of the internet and blogs have opened the door for that to happen.

In light of all this, and it being the start of a new year on top of that, what better topic for this first blog than that scary animal we call CHANGE.

change-neon

What I’ve come to realize is that until we’re repulsed by the status quo in our life, it won’t ever, ever change.

For many of us,  things slows down to a manageable pace after the holiday frenzy — giving us time to take a mental walk through our life.  We may ask:  What would I change?  Do I wish I had taken greater risks?  Did I settle for the familiar?  Does my life feel lifeless — unfulfilling?

Making changes is unsettling.  No question, some weighty portion of ourselves craves routines, schedules, sameness.  But another, more subtle side, craves change.  That side is nourished by adventure — the excitement of the unknown, and the act of being creative with our lives.

I wrote a column about this a while back . . .  Amy was sooo ready for a change, but her fear had her paralyzed.  I’d love to hear what you think!

Well, that’s it.  Thanks for reading my first blog!

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Filed under General Interest