There are times when I find myself reading the comments that people leave in response to print news items. While some articles elicit notations of sympathy or encouragement, more often than not they become the starting point for finding the negative, focusing on one side of the story, and a litany of nasty commentary.
At the same time, they remind me that we can quickly change to a positive perspective. I was at a store when the cashier made a mistake in ringing up the person in front of me. With a sigh, she said “that now sets the tone for the rest of my week”. After a moment of reflection, I asked if she would consider instead that her week would only get better from here.
In my experience with transformational work, one of the phrases that individuals seem to work through a lot is – not good enough or sometimes simply not enough. Since there will always be someone smarter, prettier, and richer than yourself, comparison while a learning tool can also be quite self-deprecating. There is another behavior that is even more insidious and that is never acknowledging what is.
If you have a goal of 500 and you reach 200, do you celebrate the 200 or focus on how you did not achieve the 500?
If an investment account earned 2%, do you say it earned nothing or recognize the gain albeit small?
When you are acknowledging someone, do you say that was good but you forgot about this other thing?
Each of these examples is a way that we negate accomplishments. If we consider the law of attraction and we get more of what we focus on, in those instances, we focus on
What didn’t happen,
Negating a win, and
Taking back a compliment
The messages we give to others as parents, bosses, and teachers, among others can become embedded in a person’s belief system which influences how they behave and what they can accomplish. Both positive and negative feedback are important to support us in doing our best, revisiting our goals, and being honest about our capabilities. However, never being satisfied, not acknowledging even small wins, and focusing on what is missing or not achieved, generates a negative effective. If you have a strong inner critic who you can hear saying things like
You really messed that up?
Your colleague is so much more qualified than you are.
How could you be so stupid?
It is time to stop feeding the inner critic, to stop listening to it. Instead, start a practice of honoring yourself, celebrating your successes, writing down your wins. While you are at it, practice honoring those around you, acknowledging all the good they do, and stop expecting them to measure up to your standard of perfection. Your standard of perfection doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone else.
How strong is your inner critic? How often do you focus on what is missing rather than what is there or what was not done rather than what was accomplished? What type of messages are you creating for others? If these questions contain some truth for you, what would happen if you spent some turning them around and growing your inner cheerleader, focusing on what you achieved, and sending kind and loving messages to yourself?