I have a “hot button” – people beating themselves up. When my coaching clients or others in my life start beating up on themselves, when they sell themselves short or see themselves through cloudy, negative glasses, I have a hard time not overreacting. I call them on it. I point out the truth. I come up with “homework” to help them shift their views. I challenge the fallacy of their perspective. But they keep on beating themselves up.

Maybe I’ll try a new approach. The next time I hear someone beating himself or herself up, I’m going to ask him to step aside so that I can beat him up instead. I’ll agree with her negative perceptions, acknowledge how awful his mistakes are, and lambast her for not doing or knowing better. I’ll point out how what they did, how they reacted, how much weight they lost, the project they handed in to their boss – that all of it was not enough. They’re right; it’s simply not enough.

This is not what I believe, of course. I firmly, and many would say passionately, believe the opposite. Most often I see that others around me have actually done a great job and accomplished a huge amount, but they’re unwilling, or unable, to see it. And they somehow think it is fine to at least psychically beat themselves. That somehow that will empower them to do better or accomplish more.

We’ve all heard, and I’ve seen time and time again, that you get more bees with honey than with vinegar. I’m hoping that when someone douses themselves with vinegar and I then pour even more vinegar on and around them they’ll hear how crazy the beating is and see how false their self-punishments are. I’m hoping that somehow my agreeing with them will help them see the craziness in how hard they’re being on themselves…and maybe they’ll stop.

And if this doesn’t work, maybe I’ll just have to beat myself up for it, no?
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