Friday, August 1, 2014

Good job!

I was listening to a child psychologist speak to a mom about her three-year old daughter. The mom was frustrated because her little girl talks back, disobeys and has a defiant attitude. The psychologist observed a video that the little girl's dad secretly took of her after she had been put to bed. The little girl scolded her doll out loud, pointing her finger, furrowing her brow, snarling–in her meanest voice–all sorts of no-statements (No, you can't touch that. No, you can't play there. No, you can't sing so loud.) The mom was heartbroken to hear such negativity…and then she realized her daughter was imitating the adults around her–in tone and demeanor. The psychologist suggested a little praise. I suggest the same.

We call ourselves stupid, berate ourselves over our mistakes, reprimand ourselves harshly for not meeting certain standards. And while being arrogant, cocky and full of oneself is egotistical, chastising ourselves does not make us humble, does not make us grow, improve our condition or help us make better choices. When we continue to focus on what we do wrong, we begrudgingly do just enough not to go through averse consequences, through what we'd rather not go through. What's the joy in that? There's no forward motion, achievement, gain, self-improvement or change.

Catch yourself doing something good–taking the stairs instead of the escalator, being nice to your grumpy neighbor, sticking to your budget, volunteering, enrolling in a class, going on a walk with your wife, recycling, etc.–and say Good job ____________ (insert your name here)! This will create a subtle ripple of emotion and more opportunities to do the same. Doubts about yourself will begin to fall away and you will begin to rewire your automatic thoughts of yourself. Success, competence and ability are, and will seem, natural to you. Be non-apologetic to yourself and everyone else about your gifts, your talents and your aptness. This is an exercise of your Self, your greatness. Recognize what you do right and anything you are not doing as you would prefer to will naturally go in that direction. As your negative self-talk lessens, you will find great joy in what you do and who you are.

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