Freeing Ourselves From Self-Criticism
Part of being human is being imperfect, but that doesn’t stop us from finding fault with ourselves. Getting caught in a cycle of self-blame creates unhappiness and leads us away from peace. So, what if we try looking at things we blame ourselves for from a compassionate and curious point of view?
For example, say I’m beating myself up over a lack of motivation.
So, why aren’t I motivated? What is my lack of motivation telling me?
Maybe I’m too tired? Overworked? Focusing on things I don’t really want to do? Feeling overwhelmed and need to start small? Or am I afraid of failure? Maybe I need to lighten up and give myself a hug. Or do I need a new plan? A schedule? More structure? Some rest and time off? Support from others?
What do I need to improve the situation and feel motivated?
Looking beyond the so-called “faults” to the underlying needs helps us stop judging ourselves and see things more clearly. Then we can find a way to help the situation instead of beating ourselves up about it.
So, next time we notice self-criticism creeping in, here’s the quick list of suggestions:
- Be kinder to ourselves—we all have imperfections.
- Take some mindful breaths to allow our feelings to just be.
- Give ourselves a hug if we need one.
- When we identify a feeling, ask it what it has to tell us. What does it need?
- Treat ourself as we would a friend in need, and find ways to help. Brainstorm a list of actions, then choose an action and go for it!