Let Yourself Off the Hook

Let Yourself Off the Hook
Christine Tender Points I’ve been causing myself a lot of misery lately because of my beliefs about what I should be able to do versus what I actually do. And because I’ve been dealing with some acute pain lately, I’ve not been able to do very much. Or, at least, it seems that way at first glance. As soon as I get a “should” in my head, it sets off an alarm. I recognize it as one of the distorted thoughts identified by Dr. David Burns in his book called "Ten Days to Self-Esteem." In his view, bad feelings like depression or anxiety are often the result of distorted thinking. He lists 10 of the most common distorted thoughts, and "should" statements are one of the worst offenders. Often, when I question a distorted thought of this type, there is no good reason for having it. Just realizing that a particular belief is nothing more than my personal preference can give me a different perspective on the situation, and permission to ease up on my judgment of myself and of others. Dr. Burns's advice is to substitute "I prefer" or "I wish" for "I should" to get a more realistic statement. Getting back to my personal struggle: I tend to be an overachiever. I wa
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