“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”- Carl Jung
Have you ever been self-critical about your thoughts and actions? It is human nature to evaluate yourself, others and situations. However, when your day is filled with the word should, maybe it’s more than just a checking in on how you’re doing.
A friend, Jennifer, once told me, “There is just something wrong with me, I just can’t shake it.” She continued to talk about how the only things she could see was how wrong everything was in her life. She had a feeling that people would find out what she was really like and not love her. Her suffering became a choice. Jennifer truly believed that if she beat up herself first, then no one else can put her down. An underlying feeling of just not being OK lived just beneath her skin.
Have you ever seen the world through someone else’s glasses? The world looks a little twisted and distorted. You try to focus but it seems impossible. That’s just what it’s like to see the world through other people’s judgments of you. Sometimes, judging others becomes a whole lot easier than to look at the source of criticism. But chronic complainer about someone else is the very symptom of the pain.
The truth of the matter is you hold beauty in every move and step you take. The shattered image of you was someone who was injured long ago. Maybe it was an ill word from your parents or possibly a teacher. These thoughts of self criticism happen so automatically and quickly. So, the trick is to turn self-judgment into self love.
Become aware when you criticize yourself. Count how many times you say the word should today. Stop and reflect how disconnected what you think you should do and what is real in the world around you. In that space, give yourself grace. Usually self-judgment shows up in your body, whether it is a knot In your stomach or tightness in your chest. These are clues of the stress your body is feeling when self judgment occurs. Breathe from your stomach and blow out through your mouth. Release the self-criticsm with your breath.
Stop analyzing. When a critical thought pops in your head, just let it go. Now, I know that is easier said than done. It’s when you pay attention to the thought that feeds the behavior. The negative thought sticks in your head and begins to become the center of your attention. Write down things you are grateful for and get up and do something physical. Just break the cycle of thought and note the sense of relief in your body.
Compassion. What would you say to another person if they were picked on? Maybe “It’s ok , don’t cry dear” or “that’s just not true!” We would automatically reach out to someone to comfort a friend when they were feeling pain. Hold that same amount of compassion for yourself.
Start with just one self-judgment. Stop the chatter inside of the mind and begin the see yourself in the light of truth.
For over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives. Lisa specializes in stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.