“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss
In our society there are a lot of people who have opinions about how we should live. Basically we get the message that we will one day be worthy if:
- I lose ten pounds
- I am a straight “A” student
- I get first place
- I am the best parent
- I am the strongest
- I can “do it all” and not even look like I am trying
Unfortunately, we lose sight of our unique strengths and talents when we chase after other’s hopes and dreams. Comparing ourselves leads to judgment and disconnection in relationships.
Dr. Brené Brown uses the illustration of a “shame web” to describe what happens when we “should” on others and ourselves (Brown, 2007). When we focus on our perceived faults we become trapped in a spider web of impossible expectations. We continue hiding important pieces of ourselves that are “unacceptable” because we fear rejection from others. Social comparison is correlated with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. No one wins.
The challenge is to accept others and ourselves. We learn how to better love ourselves and offer that acceptance to others as we experience relationships of acceptance. “Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from relationship” (Brown, 2007). Accepting relationships help us to heal and allow us to move forward out of a spider web of disconnection.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Carl Rogers
- Become aware: notice times when people use the words “should” or “must.” Also notice times when you say “I should…” to yourself.
- Seek out relationships where you can be “real” and heard with acceptance and empathy.
- Learn to listen to others non-judgmentally.
If you seek a place to heal from the judgment and criticism of others, or a place where you learn compassion for yourself, please contact Fuller Life Family Therapy. We can work together to create more connection and acceptance in your daily life.