Are You Making it Worse?

I made a pretty big mistake last week. A couple of people got mad at me for good reason. As I rode through my discomfort with their anger I realized that I was recalling other times I made someone angry. I started to tell myself that I was doing it again, acting in a careless, irresponsible way, just like I did as a teenager.

Full Stop.

This is what I call dog-piling. I have a negative experience, thought or feeling and I begin piling up all the negative experiences on top of this feeling. Instead of experiencing one disappointment I aggregate them with all my perceived failures.   

This painful behavior is like throwing lighter fluid on a fire to put it out. I tend to do this with things that other people say about me or to me. If someone says I have a short temper, I’ll immediately begin to catalog my character defects. I’ll think. “He’s right and look at all the other times I’ve lost my temper. Plus, I’m lazy and selfish besides.” Pretty soon, I have a whole festival of ways to put Stephanie down and prove how bad and defective she really is.        

In my experience, this is very common among women. We are socialized to cooperate, which is a healthy social behavior. However, many women take cooperation to an extreme and become totally submissive and ashamed to speak up. We keep ourselves down with a steady stream of negative self-talk, dog piling whenever we can. Imagine what a difference it could make to root for yourself instead.

This week try blessing yourself instead of cursing yourself. Recall some instances where you’ve been successful or did something well. Try being your own cheerleader for a change. Leave the dog piles for the NFL.

Stephanie MillerComment