Whether you’re a teenager or adult being overly self-critical ruins your everyday mood and makes you hate yourself for whatever reason.
What’s really funny is that you may love the closest people to you and be fine with their mistakes. Moreover, you’re always the one who helps your friends overcome the hardest times in their lives.
However, when it comes to you, it’s just extremely difficult to stop negative self-talk and being overly self-critical. What’s the problem?
Let’s figure it out. (If you don’t have much time, scroll down to see the solution)
Next time the judgemental thinking hits you, try to pay attention to where these spiteful and intrusive thoughts come from.
Would you ever say to yourself these things?
How about these ones? They sound more reasonable.
I don’t know your case exactly, but let me tell you my story. We have to go back to the good old school days and my upbringing.
Let me kick this off with my favorite subject – math. At the math classes, I was constantly reminded that without proper knowledge of mathematics I’m going to suck in life. I will never pass the GCE exams, and I have zero chances of entering a university or getting a job.
Woah! Best time of my life. I was so deeply concerned that I suck at math, that I completely stopped learning it. While bothering when you suck anyway, right?
Heck, I didn’t even want to consider trying. I just knew that it won’t work. Even my friend told me I shouldn’t pursue what I’m not skilled at.
In contrast, he became a software developer but has hard times building his social skills and learning English (a game-changer in Ukraine). You know why? Cuz he was told to be good at math but underperforming in other subjects.
No matter how humble I want to remain, I should say it.
Your parents, parents of your friends, and your teachers – are idiots. I wish we’ll make it better. Cuz I believe that’s why we are learning.
If your self-esteem hits the rock bottom and you’re being overly judgemental and negative about yourself, that’s not your fault. Well, at least, it wasn’t.
When we are kids, we don’t have the analyzing algorithm we develop as we grow up. And by growing up, I mean the teenage years when all the “knowledge” and “world view” you’ve absorbed is being analyzed.
This is why so many teens are depressed. They feel and smell the crap they’ve been fed all those years.
You know why?
Because others told you what you should and should not do. Every time you unconstructively criticize yourself, you’re saying:
“This is how they wanted me to do it. And I failed. I failed to do it their way.”
No doubts it didn’t work for you. You’re following their plan, not yours.
I love this scene from the cartoon called “The Croods.” Check it out.
To stop the criticizing yourself, you have to distract yourself first, and then substitute your negative thoughts with the positive ones.
How do you do that?
For example, you’ve failed at something, and now you’re bombarding yourself with the “loser bombs” and “reasons to kill yourself”. Take action immediately, and do some physical exercises while counting the reps.
A few push-ups, squats, and pull-ups will increase the blow flow to the muscles and lead your mind out of the self-destructive behavior into the logical part of your brain.
Since your self-critique probably turns on automatically, you need to force yourself to stop the negative thinking.
But what if you’re in public?
Start paying attention to the things around you. Look at what people are wearing, focus on the farthest point in the room, look around or take a deep breath.
Then start counting to ten or just think about something else.
Think about how you always help others figure things out without beating them up. How do you do that?
That’s right, you ask questions.
Imagine that you’re the one who asks for advice. Who wants you to help them figure out what’s going on. Here is how you can help yourself. Ask these questions:
If concerns people:
If concerns taking action:
If concerns thinking:
These questions should help you find the right direction when you’re being too self-critical and deal with it. You can further advance these questions to make them work for your particular situation and make it meaningful.
Want to stop giving a damn about all these things that make you feel unhappy and deal with self-critique once and for all?
Order the book by Mark Manson “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK”
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