Monday, 5 July 2010

The vicious mind - how self criticism paralyses us

If there is one thing which has been eye opening since I became a psychologist, it is the level of self criticism which our minds give us.

It is relentless, and often vicious - our minds really know how to hurt. Mine tells me over and over how I am failing compared to everyone else I know. How I will never make an impact with anyone. How I ran away from my consulting career because I couldn't handle it.

Over and over.

What's ironic about all this is that the clients I see are all successful. They are bright, conscientious, motivated to do good and they want the best for their families. Yet they think they should be doing more and better. Slowly, slowly, this paralyses them.

The sheer pity of all this reminds me of a quote which the brilliant Ken Robinson sometimes uses:

"Human beings were born of risen apes, not fallen angels. And so what shall we wonder at? Our massacres, our missiles, or our symphonies? The miracle of human kind is not how far we have sunk but how magnificently we have risen."

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