• Debbie Covino, PhD

Bad Thought: I’m such an idiot.

This is a thought that comes to mind for many of us when something goes wrong in life. We blame ourselves, thinking we’re inept, unintelligent, clueless, or weak. Though we may not admit it to others, privately we can feel defective. I work with many clients who are far too hard on themselves about whatever aspect of their life is not shaping up the way they’d like.

I’d like to recommend the following exercise in self-compassion from Greater Good Magazine for all those who struggle to tell themselves, I am a good and adept human being doing my best in a challenging world:

SELF-COMPASSIONATE LETTER

TIME REQUIRED

15 minutes. Try to do this practice once per week, or at least once per month.

HOW TO DO IT

First, identify something about yourself that makes you feel ashamed, insecure, or not good enough. It could be something related to your personality, behavior, abilities, relationships, or any other part of your life. 

Once you identify something, write it down and describe how it makes you feel. Sad? Embarrassed? Angry? Try to be as honest as possible, keeping in mind that no one but you will see what you write. 

The next step is to write a letter to yourself expressing compassion, understanding, and acceptance for the part of yourself that you dislike. 

As you write, follow these guidelines:

1. Imagine that there is someone who loves and accepts you unconditionally for who you are. What would that person say to you about this part of yourself?

2. Remind yourself that everyone has things about themselves that they don’t like, and that no one is without flaws. Think about how many other people in the world are struggling with the same thing that you’re struggling with.

3. Consider the ways in which events that have happened in your life, the family environment you grew up in, or even your genes may have contributed to this negative aspect of yourself. 

4. In a compassionate way, ask yourself whether there are things that you could do to improve or better cope with this negative aspect. Focus on how constructive changes could make you feel happier, healthier, or more fulfilled, and avoid judging yourself.

5. After writing the letter, put it down for a little while. Then come back to it later and read it again. It may be especially helpful to read it whenever you’re feeling bad about this aspect of yourself, as a reminder to be more self-compassionate.


https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/self_compassionate_letter?utm_source=Greater+Good+Science+Center&utm_campaign=f0310b38d4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_GG_Newsletter_Nov_28_2018&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5ae73e326e-f0310b38d4-52366311


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 audio program and the All Day Hypnosis audio courses, available at https://www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/digital-audio-programs

Click here to get your free Memory Spa Audio: https://www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com

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