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Plant City Observer Thursday, Jun. 9, 2016 2 years ago

Be kind to yourself

Your happiness depends on the quality of your thoughts.

Emotional well-being depends on supportive self-talk that creates positive personal energy.

What kinds of messages do you give yourself about the kind of person you feel that you are? After a mistake do you say, “I can’t do anything well”? 

Negative thoughts are not as helpful as saying to yourself, “I’ll do better next time.” 

What is sometimes referred to as a breakdown can start with negative self-talk that repeats in loops in our heads. One unpleasant experience becomes generalized to life as a whole, which we then start to see as painful or hard. 

We need to remember that just because one area of life is not going the way we want it to go does not mean the other parts of our lives are disintegrating.

In fact, reminding yourself a good day is still possible despite an uncomfortable moment helps to reduce the incident to smaller proportions. It does not have to control your overall outlook just because it happened.

If life hands us a larger mishap, the tendency to ask, “Why do I have to go through this,” is common. 

Questions asking “why” do not always have answers. Even so, the story you tell yourself about the cause of a given set of circumstances can affect your emotional health.

Assuming blame for life’s events while making harsh judgments about ourselves can send us into unfortunate tailspins. The solution to this is  to take as clear a look as possible at what happened after processing the emotional impact of it. Determine what the specific emotions were and then look for their causes.

See episodes of life as pictures being painted or photographs being taken. This helps us to pinpoint areas of insight that need to register with us. 

We may view an event as unhelpful at the time, only to realize later the benefits we accrued from it. 

Viewing life in this perspective helps us to become kinder to ourselves.

Perfectionism gets in the way of this kind of self-acceptance. Expecting ourselves to be on point all of the time leads to self-condemnation. Mistakes feel painful, but they can result in substantial personal growth.

The culmination of this kind of personal growth is that you know more about yourself. If you know yourself as well as possible, then you are able to have trust in the decisions you make about your life.

Joy makes itself felt from increased feelings of self-worth. Unlike happiness, joy does not depend on the shifting scenes of the day. It comes from knowing that the love we have for ourselves and others is permanent.

Scott Toler is a licensed mental health counselor living in Plant City. He can be reached at [email protected]. com.


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