Gottman’s pioneering research identified contempt as the most serious of the four horsemen of the divorce apocalypse.
He calls it the most destructive and biggest predictor of separation.
But what about the relationship with ourselves? Because whether we’re coupled up or not, that’s the one person we still have to sleep with every night. Therefore, we must also be careful about the production of contempt in ourselves.
From mocking to name calling to hostile humor to sneering in disgust at our own behaviors, each of these expressions slowly chips away at the fondness we have for ourselves. And if our goal is to build an internal culture of appreciation, to lower our tolerance for contemptuous statements and behaviors towards our actions, then it’s time we relate to ourselves with the same compassion and acceptance.
Injuries are the example that comes to mind. They always help me come to an awareness of my own capacity for contempt. Because whether it’s a pulled muscle, a corneal infection, an allergy attack or a tendentious flare, my instinct is to roll my eyes at myself and start in on the naming calling.
You’re so clumsy, you can’t even go dancing without hurting yourself. You’re so incompetent, you can’t even clean your contacts properly and now you have to go see optometrist. You’re so over achieving, you can’t even take a day off from exercising and now you’re at the pharmacy getting a prescription for muscle relaxers.
Those are the greatest hits from my negative self talk catalogue. What are yours?
Consider making a list today. Because once we become aware of our contempt for ourselves, we have already highlighted it for deletion.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you reduce, repair and eliminate contemptuous exchanges with yourself?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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