One of the questions that I typically ask new patients is, “What do you like the most about yourself?” It is not designed to be a trick question. It helps me to get an idea of the person’s self-image at the starting point of our working together.
You may be surprised to hear that a large number of patients are stumped by the question. Some struggle to come up with an answer, and some actually can’t find anything positive to say about themselves. I don’t let them get away with that. I’m pretty persistent when it comes to having people treat themselves fairly.
The problem with the inability of people to see themselves in a positive light is that it is so divorced from reality. I’ve had patients who are clearly bright, achieving, attractive, talented, and/or creative sit in front of me and unashamedly deny positive attributes.
I’ve always been able to get patients to change their perceptions and recognize the silliness of this type of thinking process that really denies reality. The fact that we may not like everything about us doesn’t give us the license to not like anything about us.
Self–esteem is one of the critical concepts in building your psychological core. It is also important in conveying the impression that we give to others. Sharing the best of ourselves with others invites positive responses back from them. Being in touch with what we like about ourselves enables such sharing to take place.
If you’ve never thought about what you like about yourself, I encourage you to do so now. It will enhance your self-esteem and improve your relationships with others, and it will give you a ready answer for the question that I’m bound to ask if our paths cross in the future.