If you’re anything like me and my clients, you’re great at remembering everything you got wrong or haven’t done yet – and terrible at remembering all the good, important stuff you actually DID do.
Most of us believe the toxic myth that we only get better through criticism and punishment – beating ourselves up. We think if we get too comfortable or happy, we’ll lose our edge and start to get complacent.
But all the research in positive psychology shows the opposite to be true: we do better, over longer periods of time, when we feel good about ourselves.
(And I’m not talking about bullshit, fluffy, Pollyanna syndrome rooted in wishful naivete. I’m talking about just slowing down long enough to take stock of how impressive you already are.)
Here’s a journaling exercise to practice countering that negativity bias and re-orienting to the awesomeness that is you.
It can be as quick as 5 minutes and the results will blow your mind.
It’s great as a year-end reflection, or even a more frequent day-end reflection, to stay current with yourself and remind yourself that you actually are competent and worthy.
Get out a piece of paper and answer all of the following prompts (no skipping). If you’re drawing a blank, don’t panic. Just give yourself a little more time and space to generate ideas.
I guarantee you’ll be shocked at how much you come up with.
Then take a moment to step back and survey the enormous mountain of growth and accomplishments you’ve made, compared to the tiny molehill of things you tend to nitpick about yourself.
It’s a virtuous cycle. The more often you practice this, the larger that mountain of competence and worthiness will get, and the tinier and sillier the molehill of self-criticism will become.
And, I’d love to help celebrate you.
If you’re struggling with your answer to #6, consider this your official invitation to share your growth and celebrations with me (via whatever channel you choose) so I can give you a virtual high five and share the joy with you.
Because I guarantee you’re not nearly as terrible and inadequate as you’ve convinced yourself you are.