January 31, 2011

Toward a New Self-Description

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:34 am by kellyfdennis

Did the nasty girl fight you as you were working on a more accurate description of your weaknesses? That’s pretty normal.  Were you able to talk back enough to get a reasonable list of realistic descriptions of your weaknesses?  I hope so.  If not, keep at it, and don’t move onto this exercise until you can complete the last one. While I’m at it, a note about the exercises; it’s not enough to just read about the exercise and “imagine” yourself doing them.  If you want to commit to silencing the Nasty Girl, you need to actually complete the exercises.  To quote the Nike commercial, “Just Do It!”

Now, onto describing your strengths; I touched on the “bragging” issue in the last post.  However, I want to stress that we need to create a balanced list of strengths. We can readily come up with a list of pejorative statements of our weaknesses, but an accurate description of our strengths can elude us. We may believe that someone will “knock us down”, or disagree with us when we state our strengths. That’s your Nasty Girl talking.  Don’t let her get in the way. This is an important step in creating a balanced view of who you are.

Go back to your descriptions about yourself.  On a fresh piece of paper list all the items you circled, the ones you liked about yourself. Also, look at the restated weaknesses; list any that you restated using corresponding strengths. Now, include strengths that you did not list previously. Next, imagine those people that you have loved and admired.  What qualities about them lead you to love and admire them?  List those qualities on a separate piece of paper. As you review what you wrote, do you have any of those qualities?  You probably do, that’s one of the reasons you love and admire them.  Add any of those qualities you recognize to your list of strengths.

Review your strengths. Rewrite them in sentences using accurate descriptive adjectives.  For instance, if one of your strengths was “funny” or “good sense of humor”, elaborate, creating full sentences, such as “I have a quick, perceptive sense of humor that people appreciate.”

That Nasty Girl has spent a lifetime refining your faults and weaknesses, but has ignored your strengths.  Spend this time elaborating, and being audacious about your strength statements.  You do deserve to recognize them. You Go Girl!

The final step in this exercise is to create a new self-descriptive statement that is true, unbiased, and supportive. It doesn’t deny the things you’d like to change, but it also doesn’t deny those qualities that are great about you. This may take a couple of attempts; that’s ok.  Once you get an accurate description, read it to your trusted friend or therapist and ask for feedback.  Incorporate that feedback as you believe is necessary.  Remember, this is how you want to perceive you.

Once you get a balanced, accurate self-description, read it often.  Celebrate your strengths, commit to working on the weaknesses you want to change (remember:  balanced, realistic). Recall your strengths daily, pay attention to times when you exhibit them, remind yourself of past times when you demonstrated specific strengths.  The Nasty Girl has spent years polishing your weaknesses; you can now spend some time polishing your strengths. This is yet another tool you will be able to use to “talk back” to her.

Next post we’ll explore additional tactics that the Nasty Girl uses to keep you in line: Errors in thinking.

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ponderings on life, food, God, and love

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Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

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