A recent client--I’ll call her Luz--was struggling with the fact that her colleague won an award for which she (Luz) was also a candidate. She was locked into the following thoughts: My achievements are never recognized. I've done more than she has. I'm always skipped over. No one acknowledges me. The disappointment brought up for her every recognition she’d ever wanted and not received. Other people’s faces lit up when her brother entered a room, prettier girls got the boys in high school, no one really listened when she shared her thoughts, colleagues often interrupted her, and so on.
We know the standard advice: We don't need outer recognitions. They can be nice, but we don't need them to feel good about ourselves. And while this is very true, it’s also true that Luz was engaging in selective perception: she was focused on areas of her life that made her feel invisible, rather than on instances in which she had in fact been recognized and applauded. As a child, she was chosen by her 2nd-grade teacher (who loved Luz’s voice) to give a speech at an assembly, she’d been on the honor roll throughout her academic life, several college professors had encouraged her to go to graduate school, and she’d beaten out 5 other finalists for her current job. For Luz, it was a matter of which side of the score card she chose to look at. It was time for Luz to tell herself, In fact, I've had many achievements in life. Of course, Luz doesn’t need a score card to value herself, since we’re all inherently valuable by virtue of simply being a human being.
Inner ecology is way more important than any award or recognition. After all, one can be a person with numerous awards and still feel like crap. A good-feeling inner state is the biggest reward we can ever achieve. It's the reward that keeps on giving.
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, speaker, author, and creator of the All Day Hypnosis© series, available at www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com
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