Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Habit of Self-Denigration

Today, I spoke to 2 women who are doing so much in their lives. Yet both feel terrible about themselves. One is depressed, and the other is looking at what she hasn't done. When I point out to each of them how successful they are in certain areas, they seem to automatically contradict me or point out something they haven't done.

It's the "automatic" part that makes me suspect that these women are in the habit of feeling bad about themselves - at least in some part.

I know the habit of self-denigration very well in my experience, and it is a VERY hard one to break. How do you do it?

Start with awareness. Be aware that you do it. Notice when you put yourself down. That's the first step toward change.

Then accept that you do put yourself down. A little bit of understanding "why" helps.

Mostly though, it's important to switch thoughts. If you catch yourself doing it, stop. Substitute a positive thought. For example, if you catch yourself saying "I'm so lazy," instead try saying "I'm so silly for thinking I'm lazy!" or "I must be tired because if I had energy, I'd do it" or "maybe I don't want to do this thing, that's why I'm not doing it." Just try it!

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