How do I feel good about my self? How do i feel confident and accept who I am? If at any time you have asked your self these types of questions then you are not alone.
We live in a society where we receive many messages telling us that we need to be better in someway. It is almost as if there is a an unwritten rule that states: in order for us to belong we have to improve in someway.
I would like to invite you to take part in a little thought experiment. Think of a time when you felt bad in someway. Did you not at some level want something or someone to be different so you could feel better? If you did then welcome to the human race, we all can relate to that experience.
What has this got to do with self criticism? The self critic is simply one of the ways in which we try to change things. It is often how we try to change ourselves and sometimes other people.
There is nothing wrong with us having strategies to try and change things. The capacity to respond flexibly to a variety of stimuli is of fundamental importance to accessing wellbeing in life. However I can certainly remember times when i have criticised my self, i ended up just feeling bad with no appreciable improvement to the situation. I am not alone in this experience. Lots of people end up feeling bad because a self critical part of themselves will not shut up. People end up feeling crappy about themselves. A good intention (the desire to change a situation) ends up backfiring.
If you struggle with a voice or a part of you that is critical of you, what can you do?
To start with, as best you can, recognise and connect with the benign nature of the original intention. It’s simply a part of you that wants something to change. Thats ok! Then begin to become aware of what happens when you are critical of your self? What do you think and feel? Is it effective? Does it move you toward or away what you value in life? If it moves you away, then perhaps its time to explore some alternative ways to relate to your self.
What could they be?