When I talk to children and adults about unhelpful thinking habits, there’s one that we all seem very familiar with – disqualifying the positive.
Essentially, we’re talking about disregarding complements, ignoring the positives and downplaying our achievements, putting them down to luck, other people’s help, good timing and so on. It looks like this:
“You look great today!”
“Oh I got this dress in the sale!”
“You spoke really well in the presentation.”
*He’s only saying that because he feels sorry for me.*
“Brilliant score – hard work clearly pays off!”
“It was just a fluke!”
Remembering that our brains are programmed to keep us safe – that they intentionally notice the negatives more than the positives – it’s easy to explain why this happens.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to counteract it.
As this year, decade even, draws to a close, I highly recommend that you look back on it and take stock of the positives, the achievements, and the ways in which you’ve grown (big and small).
Even better if you can do this in conjunction with a calendar and/or a diary… something that helps you to remember happy moments, easily forgotten.
Where perhaps it’s been a year with more lows than highs, ask yourself what you have learned from these experiences; how you have and will continue to grow as a result.
So often, we work towards goals, only to move on the moment we reach them, already look to the next milestone. We reserve kindness, open-mindedness, forgiveness and praise for our friends and family, leaving little to none for ourselves.