How often have you said or done something, or maybe received feedback or a comment, and suddenly there’s a voice in your head, telling you how bad or wrong you are? That you are worthless, stupid, lazy, a failure?
The How and Why of Self-Criticism
Self-criticism is an easy pattern to fall into. And in a strange way, it can even feel like a good thing: I’m bullying myself into behaving better! Except it never quite works like that…
Multiple large studies have shown that people who try to motivate themselves through self-criticism – you’re so fat, you need to lose weight; you’re so lazy, you need to work harder – actually end up achieving less.
For one thing, this kind of self-criticism tends to lead to low self-esteem. And why should you do something good for someone worthless?
For another, it is disheartening and increases stress levels. As I’ve written many times before, being stressed is a sure fire path to less creative thinking, lower productivity, as well as a raft of emotional and physical dis-eases that sap your strength and motivation.
What you can do
Some of the suggestions to combat self-criticism include mindfulness and self-compassion. When you become aware of the pattern you are running, it is easier to respond differently: to be kind rather than critical
Tapping is another technique that can be really helpful. It is a way of creating a greater sense of calm, and releasing the emotional component of self-criticism when it arises.
This video combines a number of these ideas. It starts with a focus on becoming mindful of this pattern so that you can stop it in its tracks. There are some suggestions for self-compassion, and then a hypnorelaxation aimed at letting go of the emotional negativity so that you feel calmer and more peaceful.
It can also be really helpful to dive deeper: accessing when you first established this pattern and nipping it in the bud. For that, Matrix Reimprinting can be an incredibly powerful technique.
Whatever your goals, give yourself the best chance of succeeding by releasing self-criticism now!