Overcome the Self-Criticism Habit

unhappy girl looking in mirrorAs a counselor, I meet a lot of people who criticize themselves constantly.

If anything bad happens, it’s because the person is stupid, incompetent, thoughtless, a terrible parent, a terrible spouse, etc. The constant negative mental chatter ratchets up to a full-blown rant whenever something goes wrong. It’s beyond just critical thinking and self-regulation. It’s bullying.

Still, people with this kind of chronic negative self-talk are not necessarily irrational. Often, they acknowledge when questioned that something is not their fault. Read More

Shame is a Useless Emotion

You might think that without shame, the world would fall into chaos.

If we never felt ashamed of ourselves, we wouldn’t care if our actions inconvenienced, embarrassed or emotionally devastated others because no matter what we did, we wouldn’t experience the emotional consequences of our behavior.

Thus, shame seems useful. At home, at work, even at parties, where skinny dipping or double-dipping might get out of control, shame seems to help us hold the line between civilization and anarchy.

With all due respect I have to say that, like many things that sound right, that’s just not true.

Shame vs. Remorse

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The “V” word

VICTIM: What comes to mind when you hear that word?

  • Don’t be a victim.
  • She’s always playing the victim.
  • I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor.

Let me be the first to stand up and say that people should be allowed to use their own words when they talk about themselves. If you identify as a survivor rather than a victim, I honor your truth and your choice of words. But if you feel victimized, I firmly support you in feeling like, and calling yourself, a victim. Read More

The Green-Eyed Monster

Green LeavesIn honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d write about the color green. And because I’m all about emotions, today’s topic is the Green-Eyed Monster, also known as jealousy.

First things first: What’s the difference between jealousy and envy?

Quite simply, envy is when we want something someone else has, that rightfully belongs to them. It’s also known in the Bible as “coveting,” which for some reason is considered a sin… Probably because of the age-old confusion between emotions and behavior. Read More