Wednesday, June 30

The PROS and CONS of YOU!

I've been writing a book for the last year or so.

OK, let me be honest; I've been writing a book for several years and just never felt like it was flowing the way it should, so I kept setting it aside. Then it hit me! I was writing the wrong book! I was putting all my energy into a work of fiction when I work best with reality. I mean, c'mon, it's my tag line for life. I'm a realistic optimist - yada yada yada...(If you haven't already, you can read my personal tag line for life on the left under the "About Me" section.)

Finally sometime last summer the light bulb over my head illuminated and I tossed the fiction aside and am now happily nearing a complete non-fiction manuscript! Yay!

While talking on the phone with my sister, I was telling her about a chapter in my book where I talk about the importance of truly knowing yourself; as it's necessary in order to begin the journey of self-improvement, and how a good start in that process is to write down a list of the Pros & Cons of YOU, being completely honest in all areas. In my experience, people tend to fall under one of three categories:

1. People who are unnecessarily hard on themselves.
2. People who are more satisfied with themselves than they probably should be.
3. People who claim they don't care to be bothered with all that "pop-psychology" stuff.

The ideal, in my humble opinion, is to get to a place somewhere between 1 & 2. We won't talk about the people who fall into the 3rd category. I'll let them and their shrinks work it out.

Ask anyone who really knows me and they'll tell you I have a tendency towards being very highly critical of myself, to the point of getting on the nerves of those who love me. In very limited doses, self-criticism can be a useful tool to keep us from getting complacent. The danger is that far too easily it becomes habitual, and destructive to our self-esteem. For the most part, I've learned to stop myself when I go into 'let's pick Michele apart' mode.

Writing down my Pros and Cons has been very helpful with seeing myself in a better light. Merely saying aloud what your good and bad points are just doesn't cut it though. The visual of seeing it, and reading it, as well as saying it aloud helps us to actually absorb it more.
If you think you could benefit from any of this, try it for a few days, or even better, a few weeks.

Get a pretty journal, or stationary that you like. Pretty paper and journals make me happy, I'm dorky that way, but that's another blog post.
On the first day, write down 5 things you like about yourself (my dorkiness is actually one of the things I like about myself) and 5 things you don't like about yourself.
This next step is very important in the process, so please don't skip it.
Next to each thing you DON'T like about yourself, assess whether it's genuine. If it's something you've just gotten into the habit of picking on, like when I make fun of my nose, that's not really something to add, so cross it off.
My nose is what a few people would refer to as somewhat "ethnic" but considering I have a richly ethnic background, it's something I should embrace. It's a part of my heritage and something to be proud of. So I crossed that off of my list. I'll admit that I'm not at the point of actually adding it to my LIKE list, but hey, it's a start. Bottom line, make sure your DON'T LIKE list is valid.
Once you have your list of dislikes, look them over and decide if it's something that can be improved upon, or changed. If so, set about doing just that.

Every day after the first day, write down THREE things you like about yourself, and ONE thing you don't like. When you've finished that, look back at the previous entries and make a note of anything you've done to improve the things you don't like.
This plan can really help you to start appreciating your good points more, and stop focusing on your less than fabulous ones.

Please let me know if you plan to give this a shot, and report back how it's helped you! I look forward to hearing about your experiments! ♥


DLC said...

I agree - this is a really good idea. Thanks as always for your posts. I look forward to them everyday!!

Love you!!

Gina said...

I am going to try it. It seems like something my mom always said growing up, but I just blew it off. I do think we all need to stop being so hard on ourselves. The stuff we say to ourselves in the mirror is often worse than anything any one else could ever say. Thank you so much for the inspiration today!

Karen Mortensen said...

I will try. You know what is funny? A lot of the things I don't like are physical thing which really don't amount to much. Why is that? We all seem to worry too much about that.

Anonymous said...

A few of my cons are physical too. I believe I will be trying this out.

There's an award waiting for you over at my blog. I don't know if you are into that type of thing so if you're not it's ok.

Michele Chastain said...

I can honestly look back to when I was 18, able-bodied, weighed next to nothing and had not an spot of cellulite, jiggle, or sag yet I still thought my thighs were too big, hated my nose, and wondered if my butt was perky enough. It's sad the way we beat up on ourselves. And Gina, you're absolutely right, we are our own worst critics. I was having a conversation with a beautiful young, somewhat new bride the other day, and I told her, and prayed it sunk in to save her from thoughts of misery so many of us have gone through, that when she is intimate with her husband, the last thing he's doing is looking for supposed imperfections or chub...he sees a nude woman and he's thrilled! :)

Curvy Lady, thank you so much for the award. I've gotten a few and didn't know what we were supposed to really do with them, so today I figured it out and will put them all up! Sometimes I can be bit a little "duh." LOL

Pam said...

hmmm....just might have to try this. A little scary, maybe? :-)

I Have a "little" award/pat-on-the-back for you over at my site, Michele! Have an AWESOME 4th!

Kelly and Ryan said...

This is a pretty cool little exercise. I'm going to have to give it a try.
P.s, Don't feel bad. I've been trying to learn to love my nose for some time too:-)

Myrna R. said...

Great exercise. I plan to start it on the 5th of July; though as we both know - I tend to procrastinate. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Look forward to keeping in touch.

Katherine Jenkins said...

Hi-Thanks so much for following my blog. As you may have found out, I'm also writing a book. I like your positivity over here. I'm a BIG fan of positivity. You know what, I actually like my not so great attributes. I know that sounds strange, but it makes for a well-rounded person. We all have things we aren't thrilled about in ourselves, but I still try to love those parts instead of trying to change them. I believe that if we give ourselves enough love, things will change automatically. Lots of love to you, Katherine

Kristina, MA, MLIS said...

Thanks for following my blog! Yours is great! I love your food blog too!

Holly said...

I found you through Never Growing Old Blog and HAD to check you out since "Fake it till you MAKE it" is kinda' my motto in LIFE!! LOL!! LOVE your blog!! I KNEW it would be GOOD!!! FOLLOWING now! ((HUGS))

Nicole said...

Excellent post!

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I love your tag line too!