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!
OH My Gosh! So on target for my day today. You are officially my new life coach. Can I pocket you for my job searches?
Glad you liked it. Thank you for reading.
Phyllis Saunders says
I love this too! I really enjoy the simple and clear way you write.
Thank you for taking the time to read.
Jessie Rollick says
loving your website and insights. Thank you for encouraging me to love myself the way God does.
Jessie- Thank you for your kind comments. Also thank you for reading.
Arlene Somerton Smith says
Last night I attended a book study about “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life” by Karen Armstrong. We were given the assignment of writing a list of things we love about ourselves. I was struck by how many people in our group had trouble doing that. I’m going to pass on your advice about the picture of themselves as a child. I think they might find that helpful. Great post.
Kristin Barton Cuthriell says
Thank you for your comments. I, too, am often surprised. We can often clearly see stengths in people that they can not see in themselves. I found had people look at their baby picture and rethink the way they treat themselves.
Long sickness also lowers self esteem, so you have to be healthy also.
Kristin Barton Cuthriell says
So true! Physical, spiritual, and emotional health are all wrapped up together. If you are physically or mentally ill for a prolonged period of time, your self esteem will take a hit. We need to do the best that we can to stay healthy. Thank you for your comments.