No one will ever be as hard on ourselves as ourselves. It’s bonkers when you think about it! It’s totally counterproductive to our happiness and ability to thrive. Having self critical thoughts is not a weakness as it is part of our inner defense and protective system.
Self-criticism is borne from two things:
- Life becomes overwhelming and you feel like you’re not coping.
- Your internal dialogue you learned as a child.
Everyone learns who they are and how to be in life based on their genetics and the environment they grew up in. This is the piece that people come to therapy to work through and re-structure. They aim to be thinking (and believing), their own thoughts about themselves rather than repeating the narrative that was imposed on them when they were young.
Many people give themselves a hard time. It’s much easier to show other people kindness, empathy and compassion than it is to receive it for yourself. Until you develop your skills for doing this.
Critical thinking patterns and thoughts become familiar and our brain automatically goes back to the familiar, rather than what’s helpful for us. The good news is that all is not lost! Our minds are moldable based on the messages going into it. Like any muscle, the brain can be nurtured and helped to thrive in a helpful way so that your default mode has your best interests at heart.
This takes practice and commitment. You don’t say how old you are, but I’m guessing mid-thirties, apologies if I’ve aged you! You’re trying to change 30-ish years of a pattern established in the brain. The joy of therapy is that we put practical steps in place to create new patterns, new systems that support you to be the person that you want to be.
This takes place by bringing understanding and curiosity to the self-critical part and re-learning that coping with life happens best when we can bring gentle strength and compassion, rather than criticism and punishment. The self-critical voice tries to keep us at arms length from truly enjoying life and celebrating who we are as it’s part of our self-protection mechanism.
It’s okay to let these thoughts go and then start to bring in a new, much more helpful inner voice that will support you regardless of what you do and say. This is your compassionate inner ally.
If anything in this blog resonates with you and you’d like support to create change, you’re welcome to book a free call with Bethan here to explore your support options. Make sure you download your free 5 Steps to Calmer Parenting. If you’re looking for immediate parenting support, you can start your free 7 day trial in the Calm Parenting Club where you’ll find the answers to your parenting problems and be supported to become the parent and person’ you’d like to be.