Need a little help to feel better?
Here’s another exercise to do when you are feeling less than or not good enough, and you are alone. If you notice the feeling of deficit or unworthiness about yourself or sense that no matter what, you’re not good enough, try this simple exercise.
First, pay attention to the things you say to yourself when you make a mistake. Is it something like “ You idiot,” “you suck”, “I’m so stupid”, “what a loser”? Notice how you might say things to yourself that you would never ever say to another person you cared about. Instead, try to think about how you would talk to a child or a friend, who is saying those things to him or herself.
Did you ever have a camp or retreat experience as a kid where you went away and then on the final night of that week, you received an unexpected letter from someone at home talking about how special or loved you were? Do you remember the wonderful feeling and surprise you felt to read that letter? The sense of pride and inner glow you got to feel so cherished and recognized? Well, you can re-create that experience for yourself today.
Think about some recent moment of failure, or shame, or just not feeling good about yourself. And that you’re describing that moment to some warm wise loving caring friend. Then imagine that friend writing a letter back to you. How would it start?
In a few moments you probably will come up with something kind – the first line or two might go something like this:
“that sounds so painful”
“oh, I’m so sorry you experienced that”
“that is so hard”
And then maybe “that kind of thing happens to all of us”
“I’ve done that too”
“I totally understand”
“I still love you and I am here for you.”
…Notice if there’s a difference between your friend’s voice and your own voice toward yourself. Presumably there is.
Write a few more lines of that letter from a friend to yourself. Re-read them. See if you can let them sink in and just allow yourself to feel the kindness, acceptance, caring coming in.
This kind of practice helps to dissipate and melt away that punitive inner dialog that we can so often get caught up with.
You might actually go further than the first few lines and write a whole letter to yourself that is from the perspective of someone who cares about you and sees you as a whole person and not just as someone who is lacking or not good enough.
Here’s to wishing you lots of letters from your closest and dearest “friends”, that make you feel whole again.
I’d like to hear from you, what struggles do you have that get in the way of feeling kindly about yourself?
If you need help to see yourself and treat yourself in a more positive way, please contact me for individual therapy.
For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.