Why am I so Critical of Myself?

By Jim Squire MDiv RP |

We all have a critical voice to varying degrees which shuts down most ideas and is very judgmental and critical when we make any type of mistake. The critical voice creates so much suffering for people even when they are doing well its nagging at them that either their success isn’t deserving or simply wont last. In a nutshell this critical voice can rob us of a good deal of joy in our life and yet most people have no idea what to do about it. The first step is to recognize the voice and isolate what its says. Next try to see if it reminds you of anyone such as a parent or caregiver. Usually these voices have roots in our childhood and are often a combination of critical judgmental people in our past. If it reminds you of someone specifically such as a parent it makes it easier to distance yourself from it by identifying how they usually treated you such as they were rarely accepting of you. If we can distance yourself from the voice we minimize its power over us after all most of us think it is our voice. The next step is to challenge what is says by reality checking its statements or denying these critical judgments such as “I am stupid” by responding “no I am not stupid everyone makes mistakes”. Another self-compassion exercise which is quite helpful is ask yourself how you would respond to a close friend who make the same mistake and respond to yourself that way. We are rarely as critical of others as we are of ourselves.