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Stop Being so Self-effacing and Claim Your Victories

Stop-Being-so-Self-effacing-and-Claim-Your-Victories

Are you someone who’s so humble you never claim credit for anything and brush off compliments? This quality is characteristic of many dysregulated eaters. It’s one thing to be appropriately self-effacing—modesty and humility are laudable qualities—but it’s quite another when doing something well feels so unbearable that you can’t tolerate feeling proud that you achieved a personal goal or make a difference in the world. 

Many people are raised to eschew boasting and bragging and that’s fine, but how do you ever build a healthy self without incorporating positives into it? A perfect example is when I tell a client, “Wow, you really spoke up to your boss this time and you did it in a very effective way. Good work!” and they insist, “Well, it’s all thanks to you. You’re the one who taught me how to stand up for myself.” 

What’s wrong here? My client was brave and moved out of her comfort zone and I, who wasn’t even around when she talked with her boss, am given credit for her courage and tact. Yes, of course, I helped her stop swallowing her anger and learn to speak up, but that’s nothing compared to what she did to break an old, once unconscious pattern.

How do you feel when you praise someone and they sidestep the compliment or, worse, thank you for praising them? The latter’s some sleight of hand: trying to make you feel good for something they did well. Consider folks (other than you) with a habit of brushing aside praise. Are you comfortable with their behavior? Does it make you think more or less of them? Do you consider all-humility-all-the-time a strength or weakness?

When you can’t find your way to ever feeling good about your accomplishments and, instead, give credit away, you broadcast something negative about yourself to others. We’ll call it low-self esteem. A habit of refusing to take credit is neither charming nor healthy. Emotionally healthy people can balance criticism and praise

Clients often ask why they attract abusive people. Habitually swatting away praise or encouragement and not enjoying occasionally shining and feeling great about your successes is one way because it puts you at a disadvantage. Sensing your discomfort, some people may see you as weak and easy to boss around. After all, if you don’t have a strong sense of self, they may rightfully assume they can do whatever they want and you won’t object. Alternately, mentally healthy people want you to feel good about yourself. So, get in the habit of feeling proud about what you do well and let others see and enjoy your pleasure. It’s a crucial step toward building emotional health and will help you attract the kind of people you want in your life—mentally healthy ones!

 

Best,

Karen

 

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