Before reading this book, if you had asked me if I had any self-esteem issues, I would have said, “Absolutely not!” This book really opened my eyes to what self-esteem truly means. I realize that I mistakenly confused my false sense of confidence with not having any self-esteem problems. Self-esteem is about having all around balance and competence. The more I read and really looked at myself, the more I realized that I had quite a few self-esteem issues.
Through the exercises in the book, I learned about the pathological critic, the negative inner voice that attacks and judges you. I learned how to recognize, disarm, and overall make this critic’s attacks futile. I also learned how to make an accurate self-assessment, which helped me to recognize my strengths and weaknesses. The book taught me how to celebrate and embrace my strengths, and spin my -weaknesses into labels that were not so damaging to my self-esteem. For example, one of my strengths is my drive and ambition. But it was also a weakness
in that my pathological critic made me feel like a complete failure every time I did not accomplish something that I had attempted. I learned to recognize that even if I did not finish something as trivial as an awful book that I started, it was not that big a deal. Why continue to punish myself by reading something I was not enjoying just to fulfill some rule I had imposed on myself that I finish every book I ever started to read? It was unhealthy, and it made me more hesitant to try new books that might have broadened my perspectives.
The book also taught me about cognitive distortions, which can best be described as our cloudy perceptions of the world and those we interact with. The book also delved in-depth about bow to handle mistakes and how to respond to criticism. Finally, the book taught me how ask for what I want without feeling awkward, which has always been one of my problems; and how to phrase this request in a concise and productive manner.