I felt like I was about to be publicly beaten, when it occurred to me: it’s way easier to give good words to others than it is to receive the good words they give to us…
The first staff meeting of the academic year at my clinical practice—more than twenty psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists gathered in a circle.
And I felt like crawling into a hole.
Was I about to be reprimanded? No. I was about to be validated.
In order to emphasize the value each of us brings to the treatment team, we were going around the circle and, for thirty seconds, each clinician would be showered with words of affirmation by the rest of the group. I would be the fifth to go.
As the people ahead of me were blessed by good words about who they are, I discovered it was easy to call out affirmations for my colleagues. But as I prepared myself to receive affirmation from them, I began to steel myself for the experience. I wanted to put on armor. Crack a joke. Find a mask. I wanted to hide.
There’s a myth going around that we treat ourselves better than we treat everyone else. It is just that: a myth. Generally, it’s way easier to sincerely give a compliment than to sincerely receive one. It’s way easier to give others the good words they need than it is to show others how badly we need the good words they give us.