Bad Thought: What I have to say is of no value.

I was at a holiday party, talking to a couple of men who are university administrators. As always seems to be the case (in that particular dynamic), the men were more interested in subjects related to their work than in whatever I had to offer. I tried to find a way in to the conversation--something that would get their attention . . .

Flash back to my childhood. I’m outside with my big brother and his buddies. I’m clowning around to be one of them, but they feel aloof. I think they see me as a nuisance. I don’t fit in, and I desperately want to. I identify with them more than with girls my own age.

Such scenes (I have a very long list) prompt the belief that, What I have to say is of no value. Do you have this thought at times? It’s a killer. It’s stopped me from putting my whole self forward in too many ways to cite. It makes us all shrink up and feel small. It makes us sad and lonely.

Another way of being, another way of seeing is possible: I love listening to these guys so much. It’s fun that I get to be a part of their world, listening in, learning about their ways and views. Maybe they’re performing, in part, for me. Showing not only each other, but also the girl in tow, what they know, what they want out of life. Maybe I’m their audience. That’s a pretty important role to play!

I feel much better already.

Opportunity for change: Next time you’re in any group dynamic, professional or personal, ask yourself what role you’re playing. Are you a glue of some kind: without you, the others would be less cohesive? What would the conversation or activity be like if you were absent? How does your presence make the whole scene more functional or meaningful?

You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis program, available at

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