Karen Eddington, founder of Cauliflower Retreat Self-Worth Outreach Center, shares ten statements you should never think.
1.”I will be happy when I am skinny.”
It is false to think that happiness can only be achieved when we fit an ideal circumstance. We need to recognize that happiness is not contingent on circumstance. There are choices we can make to be happy now. We can also replace the word “skinny” with the word “healthy.” The word skinny is subjective and is often associated with status, meaning that there is usually a winner and a loser. It is usually not the makeover that leads to happiness, rather it is often found in hard work, setting goals, and taking care of your body.
2. “When I __________ I will be a worthwhile person.”
Get married, graduate, get a job, can fit into a size 6, etc. There are times we that we think we can only be important when we reach popular, ideal, or perfect circumstances. Our self-worth is something that is already established. While our self-esteem, the perspective our self-worth, may fluctuate we need to continually recognize that our worth as a person is not based on an appealing circumstance.
Idealistic Happiness: A thinking error where assign our happiness or value as a person to an appealing circumstance.
3. “I have no talents”
Many times we feel like we are excluded from being a person of worth because we don’t recognize our talents. We need to be mindful of the times we think or say statements that are derived from comparing our abilities next to the abilities of another. Talents are more than being able to sing and dance. Talents like being a true friend, listening, or caring for your family can often be overlooked.
4. “I’m not smart enough”
When we look to the people around us to determine if we are smart enough, pretty enough or popular enough we will find we always fall short. No matter how hard we try there will always be someone above or below us. When we look within to find self-acceptance and find motives that are based on inner strength versus the opinion of another we will find that our efforts can be adequate.
Comparison Exclusion: A thinking error which originates from ranking or comparing your abilities next to another person while making a statement which excludes you from being a person of worth.
5. “I’m a bad mother”
Your daughter gets a low grade in school, the house is messy, your son broke his arm while you were at work, or a variety of other circumstances may cause us to label ourselves as a bad mother. Just because you are feeling discouraging moments doesn’t make you a bad person. We need to learn to separate the choices of others, along with our feeling of inadequacy, from our value as an individual.
6. “If I only I would have ___________”
Taught my son to read better, started an exercise routine, graduated from college, or add your own guilt inducing situation. When a situation has past or is out of your control learn how to separate yourself from the guilt and look at what you can do in the present to find a solution. Avoid should, ought, and if statements.
Personal Blame: A thinking error where you blame yourself for something that is not entirely your responsibility or something beyond your control.
7. “Nobody ever appreciates me”
This statement does not allow exceptions. To overcome it we can recognize times that we may have heard the word thank you in the past. Last week your six year old may have told you thank you for making dinner, that recognition cancels out the words “nobody ever.” Continually feeling overlooked, and dwelling on it can cause us to become entitled. Certainly there are times when credit and indulgence are due, but there will be times that work, and not bubble baths, will help you find refreshment. Try and let go of the expectation to be appreciated to and find ways to develop gratitude.
8. “I never get what I want”
You may have a moment of disappointment and in frustration shout out the words, “Things never go my way.” As we are caught up in the missed expectation it can be easy to forget about the other times when you have gotten your way, when things have gone right, or when circumstances have even exceeded your expectations. We can recognize these disappointments and think a statement that is not false like, “I feel disappointed” versus claiming nothing ever goes your way.
All or nothing thinking: A thinking error where don’t allow explanations, variations or exceptions. These statements often use the words always, or never.
9. “She thinks I’m incapable”
No matter if you are working on a project with your mother-in-law, or are volunteering for the PTA, we need to recognize when we are mind reading and assuming that people are reacting negatively to us. We often guess what another person is thinking before we have all the facts. Since we are often our hardest critics, it becomes easy to assume the worst setting ourselves up for missed opportunities. Instead of mind reading take time to communicate.
10. “They don’t like me. They don’t want to be around me.”
You don’t get an invitation to a dinner party. You hear rumors of an event you were excluded from. You feel alone. These are a couple of examples why you would assume that people don’t like you or don’t want to be around you. You may be overlooking the fact that other people do like you, that there are other circumstance why you were not a part of an invitation. Instead of mind-reading, take time to get to know others.
Mind Reading: A thinking error where we assume people are reacting negatively to us and that we know what another person is thinking.
For more information you can reference the workbook and audio series 10 Statements You Should Never Think: Understanding the Impact of Thinking Errors on Self-Confidence by Cory Eddington, LMFT and Karen Eddington. More information on self-worth programs for everyday women and teens can be found at the Cauliflower Retreat Self-Worth Outreach Center. Join the Retreat in 2011 for the “Think and Act” campaign helping people make more positive decisions about self-worth. www.selfworthretreat.com