Today Sue and I touched on the topic of self-criticism again. She was able to see how “beating herself up” every time she made a mistake undercut her motivation and her sense of self-efficacy. We reiterated how important it is to become problem-solving oriented, instead. “Okay, I made a mistake. What can I learn from this for next time?” Unfortunately, Sue is not only critical of her eating, she’s generally highly critical of herself, in her work, at home, socially, and so on. Her standards for herself are just too high. Fortunately, though, she doesn’t have the idea, “I have to be self-critical or I’ll let myself go.” (If she did, we’d have her try some experiments to see if that belief were true.)
For this week, Sue’s going to make a concerted effort to note her self-critical thoughts about her eating, her body, and exercise. That’s the first step. The next step will be learning how to respond to herself in a compassionate, problem-solving way. And we’ll continue to work together so she can learn how to set reasonable standards for herself.