Been reading my 10 Days To Self-Esteem book by the psychiatrist David D. Burns and I found a method for dealing with negative thoughts about myself that keeps my self-esteem. It’s called the acceptance paradox. For instance. If I have the negative thought:
You’re basically a stupid and incompetent person. You’re pathetic. Lots of people are smarter and better than you are.
The idea is to accept my flawed character. Don’t defend or argue. Instead immediately agree with every brutal accusation and find some truth in the accusations with a sense of inner peace and self-esteem. It would look like this:
As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t ever claim to be the smartest or most talented person in the universe. I often make mistakes and have a great deal to learn from others. In fact if you really knew me you would see that I have a lot of inadequacies! I accept this.
This way we defeat criticism by surrendering to it. We win by losing! In healthy self-acceptance I accept the fact that I have deficiencies without condemning myself. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ! Suppose one says:
I am a defective human being
This negative thought is condemning and leaves no room for growth. If I am using the acceptance paradox the positive of this would be:
I’m a human being with many defect and shortcomings. All have sinned and fallen short. I accept this.
There is hope for forgiveness and room for growth. As a human being I acknowledge and accept that I have flaws while maintaining a spirit of self-respect. Through acceptance I declare that it’s okay to be flawed. It’s part of the human condition. I can either fight and protest and be miserable or accept my humanness and rejoice. Healthy self-acceptance with self-esteem also gives me more of a motivation to change. The fact is, we are all human and broken in many ways. When I accept my inadequacies with a sense of inner peace it removes the burden. The judgments and mental putdowns lose their power. I transcend my limitations when I accept them. I feel whole when I accept the fact that I am broken. It works for me anyway.