Self Objectivity

by | Apr 25, 2001 | POLITICS

Q: You often write that it’s a good idea to identify your objectively positive behaviors each day, so that your morale and self-esteem will build. How can you practically go about doing this? A: The single most effective method I know of is to simply summarize, in writing, your positive, productive, or admirable behaviors at […]

Q: You often write that it’s a good idea to identify your objectively positive behaviors each day, so that your morale and self-esteem will build. How can you practically go about doing this?

A: The single most effective method I know of is to simply summarize, in writing, your positive, productive, or admirable behaviors at the end of each day. I emphasize writing them down, to make the exercise more powerful, and also to chart your progress over time.

If you’re not sure what to write down — that is, if you get “stuck” — then use the following introspective questions as a guide:

  • What did I do well today? What do I deserve credit for, whether anybody else knows or not?
  • How did I act in accordance with my values today?
  • Are there any cases where I overcame fear or hesitation? For example, did I make an effort to communicate despite my fear that I wouldn’t communicate perfectly?
  • What am I especially proud of today?
  • What did I learn today, or re-learn as reinforcement of already known principles of living?
  • What were my partial successes today, even if they did not come yet to full realization?

Many other introspective questions are possible. Don’t limit yourself to these. Simply use them as starting points until you can think of more, on your own, and over time. You should do this exercise every day for it to be most effective. I don’t see why you need to spend more than thirty minutes on it, in most cases. (It may take longer at first, until you become skilled at it). This will help you stay focused on your positives and your strengths so you don’t get caught up in only thinking about the negatives. Give this exercise time to really take effect — even as long as one or two years.

Of course knowing your strong points helps build self-esteem. What about self-criticism? Self-criticism is no less important; but it must be rational. This can be a problematic issue, as far too many people internalize an irrational approach to self-criticism. It is best to self-criticize with these types of questions:

  • What do I need to do differently tomorrow?
  • Did I betray my values today, in a small or big way? How?
  • What were my biggest weaknesses? How might I have prevented them?

I suggest starting with the positive points, and the positive questions first. You have to learn to see your objective good points before you can criticize yourself constructively, as opposed to unfairly, as so many do.

For many more details on how to introspect, see Dr. Hurd’s book “Effective Therapy.” For more details on self-esteem, see “Grow Up America!” also by Dr. Michael Hurd. Both books are available elsewhere on this site, at Amazon.com, and your local bookstore. http://www.drhurd.com/

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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