Aug 7, 2009

Love Over Fear newsletter

For over a year I have been writing for Love Over fear newsletter that is distributed once a month to the local ACA group I once found home. Since the information presented in the newsletter is beneficial to the ACA community , I decided to post those articles here from now on. This way we can invite comments on the topics discussed.

ACA’s judge themselves without mercy
As children we internalized negative self- feelings because we were never good enough for our parents. Sometimes we were criticized for things that made absolutely no sense. Sometimes we’d feel our family would be better off without us. Those early feelings may have conditioned us to believe that we are never good enough. We judge ourselves and others negatively and come out short every time (though we don’t judge others near as harshly as ourselves.)

For example, when we are caught in traffic and arrive fifteen minutes late to a work meeting with an angry boss staring back at us we might take this to heart despite having left the house on time and acknowledging the traffic jam was not our fault. Another example is not being able to accept a compliment and always finding fault with whatever someone has said. We expect a lot of ourselves but never seem to measure up.

So, how can we silence the “shoulds,” and help ourselves to feel OK just as we are?
Janet Geringer Woititz,Ed.D. author of The Complete ACoA Sourcebook helped me out on this one:
Our inclination is to automatically find fault in ourselves (and others) so the solution is to try to be more objective. Take a step back and see what about the situation is causing us to judge. If it’s a partner's behavior, then what can we do about it? Why does it bother us?

Sometimes our judgments come from seeing something in someone else we don’t like about ourselves. Their flaw is mirrored in front of us and as we grow uncomfortable, our inclination is to think negatively and to judge. By being aware and trying to be objective we can change our natural inclination. We can be less judgmental and more understanding, maybe even forgiving of our judgments of ourselves and others and pave the way for more positivity and less self-inflicted pressure in our lives.

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