Owning the Criticisms that are True
Having, in the previous section, disposed of all the erroneous beliefs that we inferred from the way others treated us, we should now turn and look at the criticisms that gave to rise to our core negative beliefs, and decide which ones might have some element of truth about them.
Some of what others criticize us for, and even punish us for being, may be quite close to the truth. If that is so, then it behooves us to see them, own them and accept them – even if they are not all that pretty. They may well be part of our authentic selves.
Let’s say, for example, that you were criticized for being lazy, lacking in ambition, untidy, anti-social or whatever.
It’s Their Problem, Not Yours
Well, maybe that’s just the kind of person you are. It’s just how you were made. But here is the important thing to understand: the problem belongs to the person doing the judging – NOT you. It’s not your problem – it’s their problem. If they don’t like it, you could easily tell them to go take a hike! (You couldn’t do that to your parents when you were a kid, but you can now!)
Wouldn’t it be interesting to look at some of the underlying judgments made about you by your parents and others that you have internalized as “bad,” and see whether they might indeed be true, or at least partially true.
It would be even more interesting to see if those same qualities could be turned around and seen in a positive light – by you. If so, could you accept them in that way?
That’s the easy bit. What if that quality has no redeeming value, at least nothing that you can see? Could you accept that about yourself too? That’s more difficult isn’t it? You will have an opportunity to do this in the final module – The Radical Self-Acceptance Worksheet Tutorial.
Owning Your Faults and Evaluating Them
In the first column below, make a list of the underlying judgments and criticisms that were, or still are for that matter, being leveled at you.
These might include, for example: too untidy, never satisfied, indecisive, anti-social, not smart, undisciplined, too sensitive, not manly enough, always complaining, too bookish, too academic, never able to sit still, rebellious, wild, seductive, secretive, nosey, and so on.
Then, in the second column below, decide this:
Do you lay claim to this criticism as being either true or at least partially true – as an honest description of how you are – even now?
Then take the criticisms that were leveled at you, and that are at least partially true, and decide whether or not you can turn them into a positive.
Below each one, select either “I can go positive on this one.” or “This is a justifiable criticism that cannot be made OK.”
Well done! This was good processing work. I also honor you for being willing to own your faults, and at least facing the ones you could not turn into a positive. Even these are OK, as we shall find out later. Nevertheless, again, doing this may well have stirred up a lot of feelings.
Give yourself another break before doing the next module. I think it would be good to sleep on this before doing the reframe. As you sleep on it, much healing will take place during your dream cycle, and that will be very beneficial.