Okay, so maybe I am not – but I should be. This is a concept that has been more clearly solidified for me during my past year of blogging. External encouragement feels great, but it is the internal motivation and self-encouragement and self-inspiration that are critical to life’s journey.
Fall seven times, stand up eight. ~ Japanese Proverb
Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give myself reasons why I can. ~ Author Unknown
Too often than not we as human being succumb to a rather common, but highly detrimental phenomenon. We engage in the practice of being our own harshest critic and worst enemy. We are ready to tear ourselves apart at a moment’s notice.
Years ago I was training a group of peer counselors at a university. We were in the midst of the sessions where students get to know one another and develop trust by sharing with each other on a variety of different levels. I had the students break into pairs and their first assignment was to tell their partner all of the qualities they liked in themselves. I gave them five minutes – after about thirty seconds there was a very painful silence. I would not let them “stop” early – so they had to either say positive things about themselves, or they had to sit in silence. It was a very quiet room. The second part of this exercise, predictably, was then telling their partner all of the qualities they did NOT like in themselves. I gave them the same five minutes. The room erupted with talking and noise. I could barely hear myself think. At the end of the five minutes, many pairs were still talking and wanted more time.
Isn’t this terribly sad? Yet, I am sure we can all relate.
WHY is it that we have no problem ripping ourselves to smithereens, but heaven help us if we are actually called upon to find something we like and appreciate about ourselves?
Wow, we have it ALL WRONG!
Imagine if, instead of tearing ourselves apart, we worked harder to build ourselves and each other up? Imagine if our complaints re: our colleagues were replaced with compliments. Imagine if our negativity was replaced with optimism. How would that change our interactions with the world we live in? How would that change our outlook and our satisfaction with life?
Today, 9 days ’til 40, I remind myself that I need to believe in myself before I can ask or expect others to believe in me. As I believe in myself, I also model healthy behaviors and help those around me understand that it is indeed okay to understand our strengths and weaknesses and work to compliment and cater to our strengths.