Self Criticism. It can be (excuse the term) a ball buster for some people.
Many people are their own worst enemies, spending valuable time and energy criticizing themselves constantly. It gets so bad they find themselves thinking they need to improve themselves in every new situation they face.
So, it is time to ask another hard question... how do you talk to yourself?
1. How does self-criticism show up in your life, and what impact does it have on you and your relationships?
2. What kinds of things does the voice in your head tell you on a regular basis?
3. What specifically stops you from fully appreciating and loving yourself?
I have often said that I am harder on myself than anyone else could ever be. Miss Perfect is what I call the voice in my head. She looks at every situation I experience and tells me in no uncertain terms how I could have done it better. Or maybe it is more appropriate to say that she tells me how I should have done it differently. For most of my life that is the voice I heard. But lately, there seems to be stronger voice emerging. The one that tells me that I did my best, and my best is all I have.
It helps that I am learning to operate from my sweet spot, and I don't feel off kilter every day. That in itself gives me a more positive outlook and attitude. And being honest with myself about the things I can and cannot do well, or maybe even admitting the things I don't want to do anymore -- gives me so much more positive energy. It seems easier at 50 to appreciate what I do right, and not beat myself up about what I do less than perfectly.
So if you are still hearing a negative voice in your head, what can you do? According to Mike Robbins in the book Focus On the Good Stuff: The Power of Appreciation here are some steps you can take:
1. Acknowledge All Your Negative Thoughts and Feelings Honestly
The best way is to speak them out loud to someone you trust. Share all your negativity no matter how silly. The person listening does not even have to say anything in return. The more real and honest you are, the more effective this technique will be.
2. Create a Clean Slate
By letting out your negative thoughts, either speaking or writing them down, you will feel a shift or "loosening" of the grip of negativity. Have someone share back to you all that you have admitted about how you feel about yourself. It might sound ridiculous to you as you hear it all at once, and that is okay. Get them out, and then be willing to start over with a clean slate.
3. Change Your Physical or Emotional State
Once you have cleared your negativity, do something to shake things up. Change your energy. Yell, sing, dance, jump.....do something unexpected.
4. Verbalize and Visualize What You Want
Speak out loud your positive intentions for what you want to have happen. Be very specific and make sure to keep your statements in the affirmative. Don't say "I don't want to screw it up," when interviewing for a new job, say "I want them to offer me the job on the spot," or whatever the situation is. Allow yourself to feel what is happening exactly how you want it to go.
5. Let It All Go
If you've followed all the steps up to this point, then it is time to let it all go and be in the moment. In doing so, you will position yourself to be ready to transform your negativity toward yourself and create some positive energy in your life.
Many of you will not know these deep self criticizing feelings that some of us feel. In fact, I once wrote a blogpost about self-criticism and shared it will a friend. She did not relate and had no idea what I was talking about. Taken aback by her lukewarm reception, I never posted it because I thought I was in the minority. Instead I have come to realize, she is. Most people do have a version of Miss Perfect in their head, those that don't might even be considered one of the lucky ones.
I encourage you to really ponder the question and to answer it honestly. Then treat yourself like the awesome person you are and work to silence that negative voice in your head. For good.