A Coaching Power Tool Created by Suzanne A. Ewing-Chow
(Executive Coach, UNITED STATES)
To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
This tool will allow clients to recognize their self-worth, magnify their strengths, accept their inadequacies and embrace their uniqueness.
Have you ever a met a person who immediately begins to reveal their weaknesses. You often hear them say:
I never get anything right, I always make mistakes, With my luck, nothing ever goes right.
Self-deprecation is their mode of operation and it serves to protect them in many ways. In order to shield their fragile self-esteem they immediately begin to deflect any possible criticism or judgment. They successfully lower your expectations and when they do make a mistake, well you were warned beforehand and are more patient. Self-acceptance presents itself in a more positive light. You accept yourself, even your imperfections, and can handle rejection by others. You are aware of your strengths and people and events don’t throw you off.
Self-Deprecation – A feeling of being of little worth
When in a mode of self-deprecation you lack trust in your self and others, you feel very fragile, afraid and lack confidence. You tend to be a people pleaser and put others needs above yours. You protect yourself by lowering others expectations of you. If they don’t expect much from you then you will not be judged. You are highly critical of yourself. Often your thoughts are saying you are not as good as others. You continually compare yourself to others and always find yourself lacking. Your view of your life is one of scarcity and you believe you do not deserve success, love, joy or happiness. Little in your life appears to be good or worthwhile. You feel you are a loser and cannot do anything right. You see yourself as ugly both inside and out. Your energy level is low.
Consequences of Self-Deprecation:
- Unable to make decisions – indecisive
- Hold yourself back out of fear of rejection
- Can't enjoy happiness even when it comes
- Criticize and belittle yourself
- Energy and motivation is lacking
- Expect the worst to happen
- Feel flawed and inadequate – not good enough
- Feel have nothing of value to offer
It is difficult to be decisive while operating in self-deprecation. Being indecisive is due to a tendency to hold yourself back and discount what your heart and mind are telling you are the correct decisions to make. As your self-deprecation escalates there is a correlation in negative self-talk. Fear permeates your life and holds you back from taking appropriate action to make improvements in your life. As this pattern of self-deprecation continues, you beat yourself up with self-criticism. You are unable to move forward.
Self-Acceptance – Accept yourself as you are – warts and all!
When you are in a state of self-acceptance you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses and accept yourself as you are. You feed yourself internally rather than externally, meaning you don’t look to others for acceptance. You have accepted yourself and know your strengths and areas to improve. You accept others as they are and understand they are on a journey of their own and do not reflect upon you. Peaceful, contented, and fulfilled are all words that describe you. There is no need to pretend to have likes and dislikes to gain acceptance from others. You do not wear masks that hide your true self. Self-acceptance allows you to show your emotions without fear of rejection and to freely express your thoughts and opinions. You are a person who accepts yourself and projects yourself as an individual who is in control of your life, thinks independently, can speak your mind and values yourself as a person. You are moving forward in your life.
Benefits of Self-Acceptance:
- Accomplish goals
- Others place their trust in you
- Moods and attitudes of others do not affect you
- Remain balanced even when things don’t happen the way you expect
- Expect excellent outcomes
- High energy
The benefits of operating in the mode of Self-Acceptance gives you confidence in your life and belief in yourself knowing you are capable of accomplishing your goals. You are joyful and filled with energy. You can overcome day-to-day challenges and keep yourself focused on what you seek to accomplish.
Do you at times under value yourself and what you have to offer out of fear of rejection? Presenting yourself to the world as who you truly are can be intimidating at first, as you may not conform to others expectation. But we are all unique individuals and contribute to the world in varying ways.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I accept myself as I am?
- What are my strengths?
- Am I true to myself?
- Does judgment by others bother me?
- Am I afraid of rejection?
- Are others as perfect as I think they are?
When operating in a mode of self-acceptance your thinking and body language send out messages to the universe stating: I am beautiful, I am loved, I love myself, I am at peace with myself and accept myself wholeheartedly the way I am, what others think about me does not matter. It shows confidence in self and speaks of an “I can” attitude. Reactions towards you do not change or affect your thoughts and feelings you have about yourself. Your energy level is high and positive.
As you coach your client it may become obvious or in subtle ways your client devalues themself. Your client may lack confidence and does not recognize their accomplishments, intelligence and inherent talents. Working with a client to acknowledge this tendency can be challenging as it is often deeply ingrained. Your client may benefit from a strengths analysis and review of what they have accomplished so far in their life. Genuinely acknowledging your client for their efforts fosters growth. You may notice your client accepts acknowledgement but does not believe it is true. Challenge their beliefs when appropriate. Moving your client to make a shift in perspective from Self-Deprecation to Self-Acceptance takes time. Begin to ask your client the following questions to develop more awareness.
- Who are you when nobody is looking?
- What do you fear will happen if others knew you as you are?
- What are you afraid of?
- Do you look for approval from others?
- Does it matter what others think of you?
- Do you take responsibility for yourself?
- Do you love yourself?
- Are you motivated to change and improve?
Have your client begin to recognize ways in which they are self-deprecating and develop ways to shift their perspective to self-acceptance. Perhaps creating a visual either in their mind or a picture that will help them focus on a shift in how they see them-self. Working with your client and reassuring your client they are safe and will not be judged, opens them up to new possibilities of viewing them-self in a more positive and accepting manner.
We all grow up with beliefs instilled in us through our family of origin, personal experiences and the story we tell our self. Over time these beliefs may not all be accurate. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is what I believe about myself accurate?
- Is it working for me?
- What is the best thing that can happen if I revealed my true self?
Moving your client to Self-Acceptance opens up many doors for your client and improves their quality of life. They are able to move from Self-Deprecation to Self-Acceptance and live their life more abundantly.
It’s not your job to like me…it’s MINE!~ Byron Katie