Tuesday, April 5, 2016

3 ways to Nurture Positive Views (of yourself) #bethechange

No one likes a Debby Downer.

But even those of us who work hard not to be a nagging, whining, pessimist around others, fail to be as upbeat and positive with ourselves. Sure I might sweeten my tone when asking my love to please clean up after herself—and yet when I speak to myself, I’m never as gentle or considerate. God, Kory! You still haven't finished this blog post? What a lazy *&%^# you are!

Often we are ruthless with ourselves. We make demands, fret, worry, etc. without offering any of the gentle kindness that we would readily give to another person.

Why is that?

Do we not love ourselves more than other people? Do we not care about our own feelings more? Or is it simply that we cannot expend the energy needed to be nice to ourselves…if you think this last one is the case, then I ask you how much energy do you think you use beating yourself up? You can do the math and see where I’m going here.

But how to nurture positive views of oneself? Here are three suggestions:

*Make a list of accomplishments.
It is hard to think you suck at everything if you have a list of all the things you were able to do and the context and difficulty of each task. And YES small accomplishments count too. Maybe you suffer from depression and getting up and brushing your teeth is a major accomplishment. Don’t demean that experience. Celebrate it.

*Accept praise
This is something I tend to be very bad at. I’m getting better, but once upon a time if someone paid me a compliment of any kind, my reaction was always, “Oh no….<insert reason they must be mistaken>. Later this habit became “Thank you, but…” Here’s an example:

I loved your latest book, Kory! It was so exciting! 

“Thank you, but it's far from perfect. There’s this chapter that’s just horrible because…” and I go on and on about my imperfections.

Now most people would think that I’m looking to have the person heap on more praise. But honestly, no matter what they said the belief that something actually sucked for X, Y, or Z would not change, no matter what they said to the contrary.

Nowadays I've managed to let most of this habit go and when I’m paid a compliment, I just say “Thank you!”

*Focus on the positive
Most situations are a mix of positive and negative. The problem is that most people obsess about the negative and disregard the positive. If I receive a book critique that is 99% praise with 1% suggested corrections, you better believe that I will have the 1% memorized by the end of the day but would be unable to tell you one thing my beta readers loved. 

And this isn’t just a phenomenon that plagues writers. The majority of people (at least the ones I know) zoom in on the bad stuff and completely overlook the good. The next time something happens, try to change this habit. Look at the positive. Give yourself credit for what is good or what you did right.

Mr. Roger's said that when he would see horrifying things on television (like a bombing, for example), that his mother would say "look at all the helpers".

That's "focusing on the positive" in a nutshell. Even when a bomb goes off, see all the helpers. See how brave, compassionate, kind, and courageous people can be.

Including you.

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