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Example of "Nothing I Ever Do Is Good Enough"
· Nothing I ever do Is good enough for you.
Is this statement really true? NOTHING is ever good enough? That’s the first problem. It may seem to YOU that it’s true, at least at the moment, but it’s not true. There’s almost nothing in this world that is so absolute as to be “nothing”, or “always”, or “every time”. Using this kind of phrase turns the argument away from the real issue — the one that is on your mind (and heart).
That’s not the biggest problem here. Because the statement is clearly exaggerated, it comes across as manipulative in a “poor poor pitiful me” kind of way. If you say this, it’s probably because you hope to create some guilt, or sympathy in the other person. It rarely works, because people are smart enough to identify the manipulative component operating here. Then they get angry.
The really unfortunate part is that if you DO feel that your partner, boss, or colleague is overly critical, using this phrase to open communication and solve the issue is not going to work. If you do feel that someone habitually does not credit you with your successes, you need to find better ways to communicate this, if for no other reason than to save your sanity.
Make It Better:
One way of opening up dialogue about having your flaws pointed out and your successes ignored is to take responsibility for your own reactions and perceptions. By doing this, you remove the “attack” portion from your own speech, and you are less likely to get a defensive or counter-attacking response. Which is what you want. Here are some example:
· John, I know you may see it differently, but I don’t feel you see all the things I do well in this relationship, because you seem to focus so much on my mistakes. What do you think?
This opens the door for calm dialogue about a topic that is important to you. It acknowledges that John may not share your perception, and it removes the NOTHING, or ALL words that cause unnecessary argument. It uses a softener (seem) and closes with an invitation for John to offer his own perceptions. Will it always work? No, nothing works all the time, but it’s way more likely to create positive discussions than would using imperfect phrases.
Here’s a few more:
· John, sometimes I feel overwhelmed when you criticise me like that, and I’m not sure what to do.
· Mary, I get discouraged when I hear about the things I do wrong, and don’t hear as much about the things I do well.