January 30, 2011

What the Nasty Girl Doesn’t Want You to Know; part 2

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:34 am by kellyfdennis

There are many ways to assess our strengths and weaknesses.  These guidelines certainly are not all-encompassing; however, they may give you a more balanced view of your strengths and weaknesses.  The second part of this exercise typically the most challenging and the one that I recommend enlisting the help of a trusted friend or therapist*.

We all have internalized a psychological portrait of ourselves. It is based on all our learning, experiences, interactions, success, losses, etc. In a later post we’ll talk about the “filter” that we all have that colors our view of reality, including our inner portrait; but for now, just realize that for most of us, our picture of ourselves is distorted in some way; some of us more than others.  That distortion is yet another yummy morsel for that nasty girl that lives inside your head. The purpose of this exercise is to sift through some of that distortion and get closer to the “real” picture of ourselves.

The first step in this exercise is to write down in as much detail as possible using descriptive phrases, how you perceive yourself at this moment in time in the following areas (judgment, distortion, and all):

Daily living: managing personal needs, hygiene, care of children and family, organizing your day, etc.

Physical appearance: height, weight, skin, style of dress, specific body parts.

Relationships: how you are in your friendships, intimate relationships, family, and acquaintances.

Personality: positive and negative traits.

Academically or in your career: performance, how you handle specific tasks.

Cognitive Functioning: your ability to problem-solve, your general fund of knowledge and wisdom.

 After you have completed your list, go back and circle the things you like about yourself; underline the things you don’t like or would like to change about yourself. Now on another piece of paper make two columns. On the left side make a list of all the things you underlined. (Leave room between each item). On the right side you are going to restate these faults in more realistic terms.  There’s nothing wrong with weaknesses, we all have them.  Your nasty girl just likes to use them to beat you down. She uses them to destroy your self-esteem.

*This is where the mindfulness skill of non-judgment might be helpful. If you were to just observe your weaknesses and not judge or fix them, how would you describe them? Below are the “restating” guidelines.  On the right side of your paper opposite your weaknesses use the guidelines to create more realistic statements:

-Eliminate language that has negative connotations: get rid of words like stupid, fat, ugly, bigmouth, etc. For instance, change “bigmouth” to “two times this year I have told things to others that I shouldn’t have.”

-Use words that are specific rather than general: get rid of words like always, never, everyone, etc. Be specific, for instance, if one of your relationship weaknesses is “can’t say no”, it is more helpful to restate it as “I have trouble saying no to my children.”

-Don’t exaggerate the negative: for instance “huge hips” is language that has negative connotations and it is an exaggeration.  It is more accurate and less pejorative to list the actual measurement of your hips.

-Find exceptions to the weakness: Instead of “lousy at making friends”, say “quiet around strangers in big groups, but able to open up when one on one.”

 Take your time with this exercise; take a break, if you need it. This is an important step in changing the negative evaluations the nasty girl uses to criticize you.

 Next up: strengths.

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ponderings on life, food, God, and love

Grace on the Moon

Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

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