How to Overcome Self Criticism and Negative Self Talk
Self criticism is the ultimate punishment to your self-esteem. When you become more aware of your own internal self talk you may notice that it’s often negative and unpleasant much of the time. If you are constantly criticising yourself in your mind, you will feel pulled down by negativity and pessimistic thoughts because our mind believes everything we tell it. This repeated negative pattern of self-talk will leave you feeling withdrawn and worthless.
Some of your negative self talk may sound like this:
“If I don’t criticise myself I will not do well at work/college/school”
“How can I not criticise myself when I feel so fat”
“People may think I am arrogant if I don’t criticise myself”
“I can’t help it, I have always been lazy”
“I’ve been criticised all my life by my parents/teachers/friends”
“I can’t stick at a job, I must be useless at everything”
“What’s the point, I will only fail”
Would you allow someone else to talk to you in a way that you talk to yourself?
When you notice yourself falling into these thought patterns, write out all the positive things you have done in your life, all the achievements you have made (even if it’s getting out of bed and getting to work/school/college on time). Write out compliments people have given you in the past, scribble down all your positive attributes and notice what it feels like to read them back.
Look at this list daily when you have some time on your own. You can add more to it as you remember other things and ensure you treat your list with respect. This can be called this your Superhero List because this is when you have been at your most Super! Feel free to name this list after your favourite Superhero! More on this in a moment.
When you say to yourself “I approve of myself”, notice how you feel and what thoughts come through. If you are able to digest this and finish off smiling then you’re allowing yourself to take this in and accept it. If you notice some resistance or negative thoughts, try to understand what they are. Be mindful that these are your inner doubts talking to you, however they do have a positive intention, although that probably doesn’t make sense at the moment. By repeating “I approve of myself” you are allowing yourself to learn new ways of thinking which all help towards building up your self-esteem.
Another little exercise:
One of the most profound ways to shift your inner “stuff” is to write a letter to yourself . If you have a fat self, or a useless self, or a “I hate myself” self then write a letter to your fat, useless or hated self from your Superhero self! Yes that’s right, sounds daft but this is an amazingly powerful technique!
When you write your letter get into the mindset of your Superhero self. Remember all those positive things that you have done, or are proud of, however small or large. Write to your negative, useless, hated self and ask them what is bothering them. Tell them why you can accept and love them. Write it as though you are reassuring a good friend or someone you love. Tell your fat, useless, hated self why they need not be so hard on themselves and how much you appreciate them.
Once you have written this as your Superhero self, get into the mindset of your negative self and write a letter back from your fat, hated or useless self, and tell your Superhero self why you feel the way you do. What is it that really annoys you, frustrates you? What makes you feel sad or negative? What is your struggle or challenge? Maybe it’s something you have never even shared with anyone before. Tell your Superhero self what you feel needs to change to make you feel better.
Now reply as your Superhero self. Using all your positive resources and knowledge, listen/see/feel the words, say what you need to say back to your negative self. Share your wisdom, your learnings and let them know what they need to do to feel better. What or who do they need to forgive? Tell them that you support them, and will commit with love and acceptance, even if they don’t get it right the first time. It may take 10 or 20 attempts to make the change, but whatever happens you remain loyal and committed to supporting your negative self. Tell them that you care and will remain to love them no matter what.
From this you should be able to draw out a deeper understanding of what is holding you back, sabotaging your success, or making you feel unhappy. The healing has started already.
Choose some of the affirmations below and say them to yourself every morning or night out loud, or quietly in your mind to get you thinking more positively:
I am a loyal and loving person
I always do the best I know how
I appreciate the good in others
I appreciate the good in myself
I am always learning new skills
I am focussed and centred on my outcome
I give my best in all I do
I recognise my potential to do a job well
I love and accept my body
I am committed to my own growth
I forgive myself
I let go of those who do not have my best interests at heart
I am evolving and learning each day
I am open to change
I forgive any feelings of guilt at all times
Sending you much Superhero love <3