“I don’t think I can do this.” “I look so fat.” “I am a failure”. “I am shy, I cannot speak.”
These are some of the examples of internal voices of individuals infected by Self-Criticism. Each one of us have our own set-backs and we often let these setbacks override us with a sense of “Not being Good Enough”.
The feeling of unworthiness, inferiority, incompetence, failure holds us back whenever we try to do or achieve something. This vicious circle goes on because instead of focusing on what we can do, we hold ourselves back with these presumed notions.
Self-guilt drains out our energy and resists our progress. And people who criticize themselves too much are more likely to become depressed, unhappy and fearful. Infact in maximum cases, the fundamental cause of suicide is self- criticism.
Roots of Self-Criticism:
You don’t just wake up one day and start criticizing yourself. Self-condemnation is a deeply rooted psychology that can be associated with upbringing or certain events in childhood. Just from an early-age, a child encounters Comparison & Denial which later turns into self-guilt. One may have a sibling who is more skillful and excels and receives all the attention.
There are also cases where parents may have very high expectations from the child or cases where a child never receives appreciation.
All this leads to a child developing a feeling of “Not Being Good” and this however results in self-criticism from a very early age.
Self-criticism can also trigger in young adults due to toxic friendships or rejection in relationships. Such incidences may contribute to feeling unlovable, imperfect and unwanted when building relation with others. Additionally, a gap in one’s expectation and reality can also fuel this type of inner critic. Self-guilt is like that catchy song tune that keeps making a way in our mind even when we try to forget it. It becomes our internal go-to voice without us even noticing it.
There is no harm in wanting to become the best version of yourself, but the act of putting yourself down because you are not perfect is what causes all the harm. Coming out of this vicious circle isn’t easy but it is possible. Out of everything else, the TWO major factors that help to overcome the feeling of self-guilt are-
ACCEPTANCE & FORGIVENESS.
Acceptance is the ability to unconditionally value yourself for who you are. That means you need to accept and value the good things as well as the areas that you think needs improvement. If you are shy, extrovert, short-tempered or whatever, until and unless you do not accept yourself you will always be a Self-criticism victim. Change your conceptualizations about yourself by shifting your focus from blame and judgment to tolerance and empathy.
Forgiveness is accepting what has been done and willing to move past it instead of contemplating over what cannot be changed. Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes and that everyone deserves to be forgiven. Life will knock us down many times but instead of distressing over few wrong things why not embrace hundreds of good things that happen everyday.