At my last book club meeting we talked about our favorite and least favorite words and why. I want you to consider for a moment what your favorite and least favorite words are. Why did you choose those words? How do they affect you?
My favorite word is ENOUGH, and my least favorite word is also ENOUGH. I can see the wheels turning in your head already, "she chose the same word for both, what is she thinking?" I chose ENOUGH because this one word has both positive and negative properties.
Let's look at how ENOUGH is a positive word first. Could you ever have enough chocolate? Could you ever have enough good friends or supportive family members? When what we seek is positive, we can never have ENOUGH of a good thing.
There are also times when the word ENOUGH can lead down a road of negativity. We have all been on that road before. Think about it. Have you ever felt not good enough? Not smart enough? Not tall enough? Not skinny enough? Or just not enough? That "not enough" side of enough can stay with us for a long time, distorting how we see and feel about ourselves.
So how do we combat that voice telling us we're not enough? One of the ways that I've found to combat that "not enough" critic is through the acronym, V.A.L.U.E.
Look after yourself!
And what can we do to quit the little critic in our head? A.C.C.E.P.T.
Accept yourself! (Don't be so hard on yourself)
Council a friend! (What would you say to a friend)
Constructive approach! (Accentuate the positives)
Explore alternatives! (Switch up your interpretation)
Prepare for the worst! (Face your fears - what's the worst that can happen?)
Try to focus on something else! (Break the negative cycle)
When we practice V.A.L.U.E and A.C.C.E.P.T. we can quiet the "not enough" critic. Vincent Van Gogh said, "If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."
(The V.A.L.U.E and A.C.C.E.P.T. techniques come from the book A Practical Guide to Self-Esteem by David Bonham-Carter)
authored by Carolyn Shoop, a member of the NAMI Northern Virginia family
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