Written by Kristin Barton Cuthriell M.ED, MSW, LCSW
YOU ARE WORTH IT!
You can’t expect others to treat you better than you treat yourself
All of us want to be treated with kindness. The desire to be respected, loved, and cherished is universal. We all want to be treated with compassion and dignity. Most of us would agree that this is important to our well-being. If this is our desire and we want others to treat us well, why then do so many of us treat ourselves so differently?
I am fat. I am ugly. I am such a loser. I am worthless. I will never succeed, so why try. I can’t. I am stupid. I can’t do anything right. No one will want me. I know I will fail. Nothing good ever happens to me. I am good for nothing. I am such an idiot. I am lazy. I am not good enough.
The list could go on and on. These statements are examples of negative self-talk. They are self-destructive critical messages that many people say to themselves. We expect and often demand that others treat us with respect, but fail to respect ourselves. We say things to ourselves that we would never tell a friend or a small child. We call ourselves names and say things to ourselves that we would not tolerate hearing from someone else.
Stop and think about it for a moment. What kind of things do you say to yourself? Are you quick to criticize yourself? Would you be upset if someone else were to say to you the same things that you say to yourself?
- Try this. Get out a picture of you as a child and look at it for several minutes. Does that child deserve to hear whatever it is you tell yourself?
Most negative self-talk originates in childhood. A child internalizes hurtful messages that came from someone else. Most of the time the negative messages are not true to begin with and have a lot more to do with the person delivering them, than they do with the person on the receiving end. However, the child on the receiving end believes them, internalizes them, and grows up delivering the same messages to themselves regardless of their validity.
To stop this, the adult needs to begin to think about their thinking and become more aware of their negative self-talk. To do this the adult can do the following:
- Identify self-defeating thoughts.
- Tell themselves to stop
- Replace negative messages with self-affirming statements
- Do this over and over and over again
Look at the following examples
Change ”I can’t” into ” I can”
Change “ I am stupid” into ”I am smart”
Change “I am fat” into ”I am beautiful”
The more that you begin to tell yourself positive affirming messages, the more you will begin to believe them. And the more you begin to believe them, the more you will begin to act on them. After awhile you will have not only internalized new healthier messages, but you will have created a self-fulfilling prophecy bringing that which you tell yourself into your life.
If you have gotten into a pattern of putting yourself down. Watch what you say to yourself. Try to stop.
You are worth it!