Are you your own worst critic?

Young man afraid of his shadow which is being self-critical.Who is your worst critic?

Do you practise self-compassion or does the phrase “You are your own worst critic!” strike a chord with you? For many of us, it’s second nature. We give everyone else the benefit of the doubt while we are hard on ourselves for the smallest mistakes.

Most often, this takes the form of negative self-talk. You might trip over your words at a party or drop a glass while cooking and your mind immediately goes to “Everyone must think I’m weird” or “Why can’t I even do one thing right!” We would never say those things to a friend or a stranger, but to ourselves, it comes so naturally. The worst part is – we often believe it!

Our brains are predisposed not only to notice negative events more often, but also to believe them more readily. That awareness used to keep us safe during the time in human history when we had to fight for food and fend off predators. Nowadays, those physical threats have become less relevant, yet our brains still latch on to the negative. This negativity bias then gets over-applied to other areas of our life such as relationships and our sense of self.

After a while you might get fed up with the amount of pressure and judgment that you put on yourself and feel motivated to change. But where do you start? How do you stop being your own worst critic?

One of our counsellors, Amy, giving advice to a client about self-compassionWhat is self-compassion?

As Dr Kristin Neff, who is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion says,“With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.”,

Counselling provides a supportive environment where you can work alongside your therapist to identify your negative thoughts and learn to gently challenge them with self-compassion.

It can be hard to speak out loud the negative thoughts that you have been having about yourself. It may feel like you’re releasing a heavy weight into the air. The expert counsellors here at Blissful Minds will sit with you through the heaviness and provide you with tools and strategies to break the cycle of self-criticism.

Tips to get you started

In the meantime, here are two tips to get you on your way to learning self-compassion:

Awareness and Perspective: Start noticing the negative self-talk which comes up on a daily basis. When you find yourself judging or criticizing, ask yourself: “Would I say this to a friend or family member?”

Switch Negative to Neutral: It may feel unnatural or “fake” to try and shift right away from self-criticism to positive self-talk. When the negative thoughts such as, “Why can’t you even do one thing right!” occur, challenge yourself by taking the judgment out of the statement. Instead, you might say, “I dropped the glass bowl but I didn’t mean to. I can replace it.”

To book an appointment with one of our professional  counsellors, please contact us. We look forward to meeting you.