I’ve heard that most of us need 4 positives for each negative we hear.  I wonder why it is difficult for so many of us to hear the good things.  I think we often just disregard the positive things.  For example let’s look at two different emails I’ve received from clients.  The first email was after meeting someone one time.  The email basically said that she wanted to cancel her next appointment.  She said she didn’t think I was kind.  She thought I didn’t know what I was doing and that I shouldn’t be a therapist.

I read this and I take it to heart.  (Which is against one of my main principles for all of us – “Don’t personalize anything.”)  Although, in my role of a therapist, it is helpful and necessary to self-evaluate and have self-awareness.   Ideally I would read an email like this, process the feedback.  Keep and learn from what is valuable and discard what is not helpful.  I would not obsess or take it to heart, affecting how I feel about myself.

The second email I received was from a client that I saw several times and had not seen at the time of the email for a few months.  This email said that the client felt like our counseling sessions were extremely helpful.  She was able to change her thinking patterns.  She had accepted some situations in her life and completely opened up other doors.  It was a very positive email thanking me for the help.

I read it.  Most people like to hear that people like them or they did a good job and I am no exception.  I took a moment or two to preen.  Then, I found myself discounting the praise.

Interesting.  How often do I discard the positives and take to heart the negatives.  How often do you do that.  Many of us have some negative messages running around our brain a lot of the time.  Negatives we hear fit right into those messages so we grab on to them.  Positives challenge those negative messages and we discard them.  I’m going to try to make an effort to believe the positives I get and not take negatives as the absolute truth.  Maybe try to believe the positives and see how your feelings about yourself shift.