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One of the many ways we cause ourselves stress is in how we evaluate ourselves. It is, after all, often true that we’re our own toughest critic. All it takes is one bad review and one’s self-image is shattered.
Shifting the vocabulary of self-assessment is key to a happier existence. This is according to Jaime Kulaga, a life coach who contributes to ForbesWoman. Kulaga authored a post a few days ago offering suggestions for better self-talk and recommendations for a shift in the vernacular of personal evaluation. Language is culture’s most powerful emblem and tool; we may as well make it work for us.
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The first of Kulaga’s three suggestions is the excision of words such as “have to,” “must” and “should” when making goals or assessments. Such words boost stress and anxiety when the things we ascribe them to don’t actually “have to” be done right at that moment. Kulaga’s second suggestion is a redefining of “perfection,” or perhaps more appropriately, the replacing of “perfection” with “self-actualization.” Although Kulaga writes mainly for women, all people could probably improve their lives by thinking less about what it would take to achieve perfection and more about how to reach one’s fullest potential. Finally, Kulaga asks her readers to step back and appreciate the grays in life; not everything is so black and white. There is room between “did” and “did not” or “all” and “nothing at all.” The key to better mental well-being is finding where in the gray you feel most comfortable.
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