February 4, 2011

That Nasty Girl’s Assumptions

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:48 pm by kellyfdennis

Up to this point we have been exploring “automatic thoughts”, the actual images or words that the Nasty Girl uses to keep you in line.  This post is about the deeper, often unarticulated ideas or understandings that you have about yourself and your world that give rise to the Nasty Girl’s words. These particular ideas, beliefs, and values are made up of rules and assumptions that have been developed as a result of your lifelong learning, experiences, and interactions with others. Once again, beliefs are formed in response to a basic need: love and approval from parents, acceptance and belonging from peers, and the need for emotional and physical well-being. In our growing up years, we internalize the “rights and wrongs” (rules and assumptions) of these beliefs. Then we operate and make decisions in our lives, based on these beliefs, values, rules and assumptions.  Sometimes when we don’t live up to our standards of the rules and assumptions, we judge ourselves to be” bad” or” unworthy”.

There is nothing dysfunctional about holding beliefs and values…as long as they are healthy and functional.  Matthew McKay, a well-known author on the subject of self-esteem, identifies the following differences between healthy and unhealthy values:

  • Healthy values are flexible.  They allow for exception to the rule when circumstances warrant.  Unhealthy values are inflexible and universally applied “no matter what”.
  • Healthy values are owned rather than accepted without exploration. This means you critically examine the values and make sure that they represent what you believe; that they fit the uniques circumstances of your own life and worldview, not someone else’s.
  • Healthy values are realistic. They promote positive outcomes and healthy living in your life.
  • Healthy values are life enhancing. they encourage you to do what is nourishing and supportive, except in cases where the long-term effects would be painful for yourself or others.

Here are some common assumptions and rules for living that give rise to the Nasty Girl’s attacks:

  • I must be perfect in everything I do.
  • I should never fail at something.
  • I have to receive approval from others to like myself.
  • If someone thinks less of me, then I must think less of myself.
  • I shouldn’t have any negative emotions.
  • I should criticize, punish or reprimand myself if I make a mistake.
  • If someone hurts or offends me, I should get back at them.
  • It’s bad to let anyone down.
  • I should always be happy.
  • I should be totally self-reliant.
  • I should always protect my children from pain.

As before, this list is not all-inclusive, but do you make any of these assumptions?  What might be some others that you make? Are your rules and assumptions healthy or unhealthy based on the criteria above?  Remember, it’s ok to have beliefs and values if they are healthy and make sense in your current view of your life.

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ponderings on life, food, God, and love

Grace on the Moon

Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

on anything and everything

my thoughts on what I see

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