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How to stop being your own worst enemy

December 21, 2010

What the Experts Say…

“The key to disputing your own pessimistic thoughts is to first recognize them and then to treat them as if they were uttered by an external person, a rival whose mission in life was to make your life miserable.”
Psychologist Martin E.P. Seligman in his book Authentic Happiness.

In Other Words…

When someone else says something negative about us we often defend ourselves or dismiss what they say, knowing that there is more to the story than they see. When we have negative thoughts about ourselves, however, we almost always accept them as fact. We may even go looking for more evidence of our weakness and failings creating a downward spiral that can lead to depression.

How This Applies to You…

This week try to recognize any negative thoughts you have about yourself. When you spot one of those thoughts, try looking at it as if being spoken by an outside source. Defend yourself and seek to find a more balanced and compassionate view. The point is not to shed responsibility but to provide a hopeful and encouraging way of understanding your mistakes.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent program on improving your personal well-being, check out The Personal Journey or Managing Stress at Arkansas Families.

For more in-depth reading we recommend Authentic Happiness by Martin E.P. Seligman.

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