Day 89: Criticism #9

The disc jockeys this morning were talking about a recent study that said that women criticize themselves at least 8 times per day. Honestly, I thought that was a little low. And, then, I thought: Hey, this isn’t just a woman thing.

Sure, little boys tend to grow up being praised more for their boy-ness: how strong they are, or what a great throw that was, or how quickly they stood up on their skateboards. They may have the edge when it comes to being proud of their accomplishments, but I’ve heard many a grown man mutter low comments about himself under his breath (or not).

Little girls may start out confident, too, but somewhere around adolescence, girls feel like they don’t measure up anymore. Boys may feel that too, but seem to weather the adolescence thing better. I know I’m not kidding anyone…that whole adolescence period is tough for everyone, and it’s nice to come out on the other side.

So, have you paid attention to how many times you criticize yourself during the day? Maybe it’s the voice that says: Boy, that was stupid! Or, maybe it’s the backhanded criticism when someone praises you for a job well done: Really, it was nothing at all. Can you say that you do that fewer than 8 times a day?

Of course, by now, you know this is something I’ve been working on for the past year or so. But, even making a conscious effort to control my negative thinking, I did berate myself today for losing a file I worked on yesterday. Worse case scenario: I had to do it again, but it turned out better than yesterday, so was it worth being hard on myself? Nah! Sure, it would have been easier if I had saved the file the right way, but I may have been satisfied with it this morning, the way that it was. In doing it a second time, it improved many times over.

Let’s be kind to ourselves. We’re better than our little adolescent “friends” thought of us. We’re better than we give ourselves credit for. Yes, we all have V-8 moments: should’a, could’a, would’a…but there’s no need to beat ourselves up over them. Learn from them and move on.

DAY 89 HOMEWORK: Count your inner voice criticisms. If you get to #9, it’s time to take a break and count the value you bring. It may be hard to start, but once you get going, I’ll bet you find many more than 9 valuable traits. If you’re having difficulty with this task, ask a friend to brainstorm with you.

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