Criticism hurts! That hurt is most difficult to defend against when it comes from your own mind. The negative voice from within can cut you to your very soul, because it knows where you’re the most vulnerable to attack. And attack you it does.
When your critical voice is belittling you, it makes your defects look huge, and your positive qualities almost non-existent. The effects from this inner criticism can range from feelings of some insecurity to shame, anxiety and depression because it leaves you feeling so badly about yourself.
Your critical voice can tell you you’re the worst, the least, and definitely defective. It compares you to other people, with you always at the bottom of the barrel.
Here’s the good news….it’s all lies. There are things you are not good at, just like all of us. Yes, there are things you need to improve on, just like all of us. There are ways you aren’t fully reaching your potential, just like all of us.
Just like all of us is the point. When the self-criticism is speaking, it lies and says you are alone in your defectiveness. It tells you if other people knew you as you really are, they wouldn’t like you and would be disappointed. The inner critic probably tells you they’d be so disappointed that they wouldn’t want to be around you anymore, and find someone more together to hang out with. To protect yourself, you probably hide your insecurities, and that gives the inner critic more ammunition to put you down with, proving its’ point that you’re too unworthy for others to really know who you are.
Here’s more good news….pretty much everyone feels that way. You are not alone. As a matter of fact, your inner critic is part of your humanness. We are all flawed human beings.
Being able to speak about the things your inner critic says to you can be hugely relieving and healing; when you are with people who have the courage to be open about their own struggles as well.. You get to discover that you are no different than everyone else, and that you are not alone.
As a matter of fact, the funny thing is, you become more lovable when you are able to openly talk about your insecurities. Others will recognize their humanity in you, and can be relieved they’re not alone as well.
It is essential to have a safe environment to open up in this way. To have a healing experience, it is vital to be with others who have the courage to open up and be real and vulnerable as well. If a person isn’t ready to face their own pain, they can attack you or shut down to not feel their own feelings. It doesn’t mean anything about you if they do this.
I provide a safe place to heal from self-criticism, either individually or in groups, by creating an environment of compassionate listening. I (or in a group "we") listen to you from the heart which doesn’t judge or condemn, and has a tenderness for the struggles we have as human beings, living an imperfect life. Once these imperfections that the inner critic is so devastatingly harsh about come to light in an atmosphere of compassion and tenderness, the shame and embarrassment can lift.
And you can discover…
You are lovable just as you are.