Deb Sofield


Try Approving of Yourself

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So the other night I half-heartedly watched a thread of a conversation unfold on Facebook, and it reminded me of an odd habit that I am seeing in so many people these days, which is being unusually mean and harsh about themselves in a public setting for the sheer purpose to draw attention to themselves and have others heap undue praise on them to help settle them down. They post sad comments and then eagerly wait for their “friends” to reply to the post, proving that they have value and that the sad sack isn’t that bad, that mean, that angry, that ugly, that chunky–you know the drill.

I think it is a weird self-esteem issue born out of sheer loneliness to publically draw such attention by saying mean and negative and derogatory comments to garner the attention of others. And I’ll credit Facebook with making this a phenomenon that I am seeing more and more…and it’s not good, it’s not healthy and ultimately the damage is greater than the second of self-esteem.

Without a doubt some people feel sad or lonely, since we’re such a single society. What I mean by that is that social media has created a cadre of marginal friends who fill the void of true friends and family, but only for a time, and then they go away leaving the attention-seeking wanderer to be even more outrageous with their comments to elicit a desperate response.

I don’t want to waste time today on those who play games to keep themselves in the center of attention, but I want us to be aware that there are all types of personalities out there. We’ll just have to be on guard to help those who really need and appreciate and want our assistance. And let’s agree that tough love will not allow us to spend a minute more on those who, when you offer kind words of encouragement to help them, the more they like to shock you with their seemly low value of themselves. Frankly, there are not enough hours in the day to straighten out those who play this game for control or who are always fishing for compliments–those are the odd habits of emotionally draining people. You know people like this and, although it is hard, we need to step away so their issues don’t affect us.

Let’s recognize this behavior and walk away and, although we can care for them, we do not need to be lassoed into their rodeo, because this slice of society is just a sad self-centered emotional wreck of a person that without professional help you and I can’t change.

Now there is an opportunity for you and I help those who are looking for a true friend or colleague to help them see the light from the darkness they find themselves in and I love the quote from Louise Hay that says, “You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

So today I would like to speak to those who really do struggle with finding the good about themselves. For those listening today you know who you are–you’re the ones who don’t talk about your issues, but sit silently, and you don’t engage when you could be a part of the team. You’re the ones who prefer to be alone instead of being with the group, and you are the good folks who quietly go about your business, keeping your hurt wrapped tightly around yourself. You silently criticize yourself, because you’ve not been taught to value your worth, or no one has shown you kindness in a long time or you simply don’t fit in well, so you sit on the sidelines. I see you enough to know that you’ll come if called, but occasionally you need a friend to notice you and then reach out and quietly and confidently help you. You are without a doubt a loyal friend for life, if you’ll allow others to reach you. Please know that a lot of good people would like to help you get going again.

Because you have become lost in your own pain of divorce, or death, or broken relations, or job loss or health issues, friend, you’ve gotten a little confused and that’s understandable, but today I am asking you to try approving of yourself and see what happens.

The quote for today is real for so many listening because “You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. So today Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” This simply quote gently asks for you to decide your future.

Imagine what would happen if you–just for today–you decided to speak words of affirmation to yourself to remind you that you’re okay, that you feel good, you look nice today and you did well on a certain project. And, friend, once you learn to approve yourself, wouldn’t that make for a better day, a happier and a more present and fulfilled you, knowing that you are enough?

I am fan of Dear Abby and each New Year’s Day she runs the poem called “Just for Today” that she has borrowed and adapted from the Al-Anon poem and slightly changed the words. I have edited it even more to fit with my thought for today…as you decide your future.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things I can correct and accept those I cannot.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will improve my mind.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous and I’ll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will do something positive to improve my health.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.

When you take responsibility for your own actions, you have to commit to approving of yourself, and see what happens.

You have to think long and hard about how you will do things differently, because you can’t go back to your old ways. That is a sure recipe for disaster.

So starting today let’s make a list of what we can do to keep us in the right mindset for success.

I’ll tell you, the hardest thing you need to do is to commit to discipline–to do what you say you will do every day–and then do it every day, from getting up, to making your bed, picking up the house, exercising or meditating for a few minutes to eating a healthy breakfast, to dressing your best and maintaining your personal hygiene, because, when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good it sets a place of peace in your soul that you can feel and others can see.

I don’t like the idea of working on myself any more than the next person, but if I don’t and you don’t, nothing will change and the quote for today will not apply, because you’ll go back to criticizing yourself and you’ll be right this time–that would be heartbreaking. So, friend, commit–commit to approving yourself, because you’ve done your part, you’ve committed to finishing the hard work–and then commit to see with new vision your amazing future.

“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” Louise Hay

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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