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Great Help If an Inner Voice Holds You Back - Or You Want to Help Others Out of a Spiral of Defeat
on July 18, 2010
Undervaluing yourself can lead to a self-fulfilling spiral of declining opportunities out of lack of confidence -- and thereby missing out on opportunities that might have been beneficial and missing a chance to build confidence. If you relate to this scenario, The Undervalued Self will likely be an eye-opener and lead you on path to healing if you're willing to work through the helpful exercises.
Important note for fans of Aron's other books: The Undervalued Self does not specifically focus on Highly Sensitive People, though there is a connection that Aron saw in many of her patients. As discussed on pages 92-93, being highly sensitive could increase the risk of having an undervalued self on two fronts. On the innate tendencies side, 1) highly sensitive people are more easily overstimulated so may not do as well in high-pressure situations as they expect of themselves, and 2) they tend to be conscientious and aware of consequences so pay extra attention to their mistakes. On the personal history side, 1) as members of a numerical minority, they may be criticized for being "too sensitive," and 2) they may be more affected than others by the same childhood trauma.
Even if you don't undervalue yourself, you probably interact with people who do. In Chapters 4 and 7, Aron shares tips for effective communication (with some similarities to techniques such as non-violent communication), with a focus on challenging the reader to respond honestly instead of with self-protective behaviors, and helping others do the same. Aron even provides specific conversation-starter questions and several compelling dialogues that illustrate how to connect with someone who is using self-protective behaviors. For example, Aron suggests, if you say to a colleague, "Congratulations on your award," and your colleague replies, "They had to give it to somebody," you might help the person acknowledge his or her pride in the achievement by saying, "Don't worry, I won't think you're uppity for having a little pride - you really deserve this recognition. I'd certainly be bursting with pride."
A few bonus features: The discussion of dreams in Chapter 6 on dealing with the Inner Critic will be useful for those wondering why they are having so many bad dreams, and the appendix on How to Find a Good Therapist has valuable insights from affording sessions to how to choose among several therapists.