We humans quite often become judgmental towards others, their choices and their actions. And when we realize how counterproductive this is and how much negativity it brings to our own lives, we try to quit this bad habit. But what we usually fail to realize is that we can become just as ruthless with ourselves by developing a permanent attitude that strictly judges our thoughts, actions, and more.
This internal judgement can last from the moment we wake up till the moment our head hits the pillow at night.
The words and accusations we use against ourselves can be extremely harsh and continuous. If we were to say these atrocities to other people, they would probably accuse us of verbal violence and abuse. But since we are the only ones aware of these judgements, and there is no one there to protest them, we believe that they don’t cause any serious damage.
The truth though is that this type of internal criticism does do damage. In fact this form of self-judgment can get serious. What we actually manage to do with all this shame-talk is to downsize our self-appreciation and our self-confidence. We convince ourselves that we are the enemy and then we deprive her from her best, her own, her closest supporter in life. Our own self!
Why do we behave so cruelly to our own existence? Maybe because we were taught to behave as such. Maybe someone else did it to us when we were young and vulnerable and ever since it has become our own credo. Maybe we observed our peers doing the same thing and think this is the norm.
Regardless of the root of this misconception, we need to evolve ourselves into the adult who we have the potential to be and prevent self-judgement from holding us back. We are not helpless kids anymore, prone to receive any obsolete attitude that comes our way from the adults, parents and teachers in our life. We are adults who need to be our own protectors and regulators, rather than continuing into adulthood reprimanding ourselves with an unforgiving stance towards our wrong doings that provides only punishment and stagnation, rather than growth.
There is no need for self-punishment. It is futile and it can also prove to be hazardous to our inner balance.
There is only one way to treat ourselves in order to be able to correct our errors and set a healthy foundation for our personal progress and development.
It consists of becoming “self-forgiving”. Scolding and reprimanding ourselves for something we did does NOT have a positive effect on us. On the contrary! Instead of giving us the motivation to become aware of, spot the error and change the behavior that caused it, we remain fixated on shortcomings and failures, which results in a flood of negative emotions regarding our inability to be creative and productive.
I hear many people acclaiming “I was such an idiot!”, “I am such an imbecile!!”, “I must have been a real nobody doing all this crap!”, “how stupid can I be sometimes!”, “I am such a mess”, and similar comments.
We think that these words are painless, when addressed to our self, but that mindset couldn’t be further from the truth. It has been proven that when a person speaks negatively to herself, she tends to have a very low self-esteem, in spite of appearances. She may look very dynamic, or have a prosperous outlook, but still, with this inner dialogue, she ensures a low self-respect that follows her everywhere.
In order to understand how severe this is, we need to ask ourselves whether we would easily call someone we are close to, say a best friend, those same names? Nope, I don’t think we would!
So why do we use them against the person we are closest to – ourselves?
You may ask then, how should we address ourselves?
It is simple; with clear signs of self-respect and self-forgiveness.
That means that each time we spot an error that we make, we can respond as such:
1. Become the observer of the situation. Observe what has actually happened. Ask exactly which actions led to this outcome.
2. Accept the fact that you made the error. Errors are a basic way we humans learn and progress. If you have cultivated your self-love and self-respect, you know that it is alright to make mistakes.
3. Remind yourself that your value as a person is no less because of the mistake. You are always the same human being of high value just like every other human being. As the saying goes, ‘To err is human.’ Your mistakes do not determine your worth!
4. Show your natural curiosity by thinking about what lessons you have learned from this mistake. Mistakes are the foundation of strong experiences. Use them as such!
5. Now use your natural curiosity to assess what you could possibly do in order to correct the situation. Or, to assess what you could possibly do in order to recompense this situation and move forward.
All of this should be done without any personal blame or self-accusation.
Talking with love, respect and self-forgiveness is a necessary procedure if someone wishes to live a quality life and thrive to reach her goals. If you weren’t taught this “language” of life and success when you were young, no need to worry. There is still plenty of time to learn. You can seek the assistance of a mental health professional or an experienced life-coach to guide you through this life-changing development.
If you are keen to adopt this new behavior, you can contact me via email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: +30 6983 282 252 & +30 210 4675543 or by Skype.
My sessions take place at my offices in Athens and Salamina Island or via Skype and Hangouts.
After a longstanding career in research at the National Centre of Scientific Research of France (CNRS) and the prestigious Collège de France of Paris, I have spent more than a decade focusing my activity in the successful treatment of phobias, panic and stress disorders, as well as the personal development and reinforcement of personal strengths, soft skills and emotional intelligence. I am a trained and expert therapist of these conditions.
My therapeutic approach is based upon the application of scientific and psychotherapeutic proven techniques for a comprehensive and successful approach to dealing with the aforementioned issues.
I am a certified Cognitive Psychologist and a Member of the official Association of Greek Psychologists (SEPS). I am also a Certified Member of the European Federation of Psychological Associations (EFPA), and hold a European Certification of Psychological Practice (EuroPsy) in more than 19 countries of the European continent. I am also a member of the International Society of Emotional Intelligence and Member of the International Network of Teachers of CEB (Cultivating Emotional Balance).
I provide Individual Consulting and Therapy for Personal Development and Self Awareness, EQ education (including for the professional field), Life Coaching for successful living and career, Meditative Techniques for Mindfulness, Concentration, Relaxation and Equanimity, as well as group seminars on the topics of Personal Development, CEB, Life Coaching for Successful Living and Goal Setting.
I would be happy to hear your story.
Last modified: November 23, 2018