Written by Doctor G

You don’t have to do this


Why are you being hard on yourself? Yes, you. Why is your self-talk, the things you say to and about yourself, so much rougher than what you’d say to anyone else? 

I’ll tell you why: self-bias.

Every person sees their own feelings, motivations and actions through a different lens than how we look at – and judge – anyone else. 

Most research about self-bias focuses on the breaks we give ourselves, and how we want to blame others, or circumstances, for our mistakes. That is called positive self-bias, and it takes a long time to unlearn. 

I’d like you to focus today on negative self-bias. This is the inclination you have to be harder on yourself than you would be on anyone else for the same statement, action or judgement. Negative bias means you undervalue your own work, diminish your own feelings, speak less honestly about yourself. And it leads to:

  • downplaying your successes
  • thinking others won’t (or shouldn’t) care about your struggles
  • feeling like a fraud when you’re praised
  • guilt when someone goes out of their way to help you

All of those are as damaging to yourself and your connections (relationships) as the lack of accountability that comes from positive self-bias. The people, especially the kids, in your life need you to show kindness and compassion to yourself.

I see this in my teen and adult patients every time I ask them how they’re doing. I hear it when they tell me about the help they won’t ask for or accept, when they show that they don’t believe their health is as necessary or important as the wellbeing of other people in their lives.

Have you felt this? Comment and tell me.

Your resilience requires your self-worth. 

All my best,

Dr. G

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A widely recognized media personality, Dr. G is your go-to expert on resilience. Countless broadcast outlets rely on her contagious humor and illuminating stories to tackle tough topics. She is regularly seen on TV, as well as interviewed for print and digital outlets. Here, she’s answering your questions. Search for the answers you need, or ask her your question now!
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