In an article in the Radio Times this week, Chris Packham co presenter of the BBC SpringWatch TV program told the interviewer:
“I actually don’t like myself, I never have. I see every error in myself and I analyse it, so when other people like me it generates a mixture of emotions – first of all suspicion, and then confusion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a self-harming or suicidal type, but I haven’t got an ounce of smugness in me. I’m a shy boy, always have been, and I like animals more than people.”
That’s an excellent* example of how lack of self acceptance show’s up in the way we speak about ourselves.
Imagine for a moment that his critic was on the outside, that he had a ‘friend’ who regularly told him “I don’t like you” or commented on every error he made and analysed it in great detail. I don’t think that would be much fun and you probably wouldn’t want to keep a friend like that around.
How does this resonate with you? Do you recognise something similar in yourself?
Most people would think that the way that you think is fixed, it’s too late, or even that it is natural. All these things are learned. It’s very unlikely that the newborn Chris Packham didn’t like himself or analyse every error, somewhere along the way he learned that about himself.
If you learn something you can unlearn it or learn something different.
If you have a thought like “I don’t like myself” from time to time you might like to try this little experiment.
- ‘Step out of that thought’ as if it were an old pair of shoes.
- Wiggle your mental toes
- ‘Step into’ the thought: “I like myself, I’m a human being doing my best, just like everyone else”.
- Try this idea on for size for a few moments.
What does it feel like to think of yourself in this way?
*I bet the experience isn’t excellent from his point of view
Thanks Sally for spotting the original article and letting me know about it.