We’ve all heard the phrase that “someone is their own worst enemy” and that is certainly true when it comes to self-criticism. In this article, we’ll show and encourage you how to learn to love yourself – and that begins with silencing your inner critic.
Some of the harshest criticism we receive doesn’t come from other people – it comes from ourselves. There’s a voice inside our head telling us that we don’t measure up. We are unworthy. We don’t have what it takes. We’re ugly. We’re stupid. Sometimes we say harsher things to ourselves than anyone else would dare utter.
But what’s worse is that sometimes we are lobbing criticisms on ourselves that no one else is thinking. Our self-criticism is wholly unjustified. We’ve created standards and a measuring stick for ourselves that no one else is using. Moreover, sometimes the standards we are setting are unrealistic and impossibly achievable.
The end result of all this is an ill-conceived, self-created crisis based on misguided beliefs that are reinforced through self-hatred. This kind of thinking is dangerous. Such thoughts pave the way to clinical depression or suicide.
But this is a monster of our own making and our self-hatred doesn’t have to exist. There is a way out and it starts with silencing our inner critic. We have to refuse to listen. Every time that voice begins in our heads, tune it out and cut it off in its tracks. Refuse to acknowledge or listen to anything negative. Any thoughts that aren’t positive and encouraging need to be silenced. This can be done through repetition that will lead to an eventual breaking of the habit. Negative thinking is something that develops over time and becomes habitual.
To get started on silencing your inner critic, you simply silence one negative thought at a time. Then, taking it further, you replace that negative thought with a positive one. Every time you have a negative thought about yourself, immediately follow up with something good about yourself. And don’t say there isn’t one. Each and every one of us has many good things about us. You only need to look and be honest with yourself. Your negative outlook is largely self-brainwashing and this can be reversed.
One of the biggest mistakes we make is comparing ourselves to others. Each one of us is unique – and that indeed makes us special. We weren’t meant to be like anyone else or to be compared to anyone else. We each have our own very individual gifts and were meant to be exactly the way we are, as we engage in our very own special life journey. Don’t allow yourself to become envious or jealous of other people, or feel like you have been shortchanged. Again, we are all on our own path.
One of the most amazing things is that we can have these feelings of self hatred – yet, be incredibly loving to other people or animals. We show compassion to anyone and everyone – except for ourselves. We need to show ourselves the same love we show others.
Think of yourself as someone else, as a stranger. Would you just walk up to a stranger and unload a negative comment on them? Would you walk up to a kindly old lady and start telling her that she was ugly and stupid? Of course you wouldn’t. So, why then, would you do that to yourself?
Therefore, every time you are about to criticize yourself, imagine you are about to criticize a total stranger or someone that you know is actually sweet. Now imagine that sweet person as yourself. Don’t say anything to yourself you wouldn’t say to someone else. Thinking in this way can help to break the pattern of self-abuse.
It’s going to take some work to break some habits of self-hatred you’ve developed along the way. But by choosing to treat yourself as you would others – with love and compassion – you can begin to give yourself the love and respect you deserve.