Self-Critical Thinking

We ALL occasionally have thoughts that are self-critical, toxic and destructive to our self-esteem. This may occur because of a traumatic or stressful event in one’s life, after a separation or divorce or some other life loss or stressor. What is important is what we DO we these thoughts. A lot of us don’t even realize the negative messages that we feed ourselves on a daily basis, but if you stop and pay attention, you’ll be more aware. For an individual with a core belief that they are “unlovable”, they may interpret the actions of others as evidence that they are unloved i.e. my friend never returned my phone call because I’m not worthy of her friendship. Thoughts such as “you’re a bad friend”, “you failed in your marriage and now your other relationships are suffering”, “you’ll never find someone to love you again” may cross through the person’s mind and if these messages are not addressed, they can do a lot of damage. Once one is aware of a negative thought, it is important to find the evidence to refute the thought, not evidence to support it as we tend to do! The thought of “you’ll never find someone to love you again” needs to be refuted with evidence that supports that the individual is, indeed loveable and worthy of love (the opposite of their core belief) i.e. “I have been in this situation before (evidence) and I will have opportunities to be in a loving relationship again, it’s only a matter of time (more self-compassionate and realistic statement)”. Learning to address the maladaptive thoughts will lead to healthier self-esteem and a more realistic interpretation of events!

Happy Tuesday!