By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Content Agency
Q: I’m often my own worst enemy. Especially when I face challenges, I speak to myself in really mean-spirited ways. Then I end up feeling resentful and doing nothing. How can I break this vicious cycle?
A: We all carry around an enormous amount of self-hatred that impedes everything we want at work and in life. Sometimes we use inner language borrowed from people who spoke negatively to us as kids. Then we add mean comments from teachers, bosses, or co-workers to round off our litany of self-abuse. The first step toward change is to actually listen to what we tell ourselves.
Pummeling yourself about a lack of self-discipline or stupidity is no one’s idea of a pep talk. However, many people do some version of this multiple times a day. The weird thing is, there’s another part of us that resents being “talked to” like that and plots to get even. We end up getting even with the one person we can’t escape from: ourselves.
If you’d like to turn this habit around, keep some kind of a journal where you record your internal dialogue with yourself. When you make a mistake, what do you say? When you don’t get what you want, what sort of “conversation” does this trigger? How do you respond when you don’t know something?
The first step to improving anything about our career is to be conscious of exactly what’s currently happening. Once you’ve recorded a week’s worth of internal conversations, look for themes. Do you keep harping on your lack of discipline, intelligence, or courage? Do you honestly think yelling at yourself makes you better?
Next, ask yourself how you’d react if a friend had the same problems. What kinds of conversations would you have that would be emotionally validating and geared toward problem-solving?
Now, here’s a mind-blowing idea: What if you talked to yourself like you were your own best friend - someone you’ve always thought was smart, brave, competent; someone who deserved good things?
You’ll immediately notice that your tone, choice of words and attitude are far kinder for others than for yourself. You’ll also discover that life is too short not to have yourself on the short list of people who love you the most.
The last word(s)
Q: My boss has no idea about the reality of the demands on our team. How can I let him know he doesn’t have a clue what’s going on?
A: Provide the information to your supervisor as if he already knows and let him save face. People are happy to learn the truth when they’re not being criticized.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel’s “Workplace Guru” each Monday morning. She’s the author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.
(c) 2015 INTERPERSONAL EDGE
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
This column was printed in the May 31, 2015 - June 13, 2015 edition.