3 steps to release self-criticism

3 steps to release self-criticism

“Doubt kills more dreams
Than failure ever will” – Suzy Kassem

Is self-criticism killing your dreams?

Letting the voice of your inner critic get louder will not only decrease your energy to follow your dreams but it will also effectively ruin your self-esteem.

People who have a lot of self-criticism usually:

– Compare themselves to others and come short
– Avoid taking any risks
– Blame themselves for every negative situation
– Are never satisfied with their achievements
– Get stuck in “what if…” scenarios
– Blame themselves as a whole person, not for specific mistakes they might have made
– Avoid expressing their point of you
– Find it hard to accept compliments
– Have unrealistic expectations
– Get defensive when they are faced with feedback
– Struggle with forgiveness and letting go

On the other hand, people who have healthy self-esteem and value themselves for who they are, tend to:

– Take calculated risks
– Feel comfortable accepting compliments
– Set healthy boundaries
– Accept responsibility for the quality of their life
– Feed their mind with a positive self-talk
–  Be assertive while expressing their views and needs
– Be realistic in their expectations towards themselves and others
– Manage stress in a more healthy way
– Be better at building successful relationships
– Trust their own judgement
– Practise forgiveness and letting go
– Have a lot of appreciation for themselves and the gift of life

Where does self-criticism come from?

1. Your parents’ influence

You criticise yourself a lot because your parents criticised you a lot. Your self-doubt most probably originated in your childhood.

When we are babies, we are like little sponges. We listen to everything our parents tell us and we program our subconscious mind accordingly.

We don’t have our own sense of self developed yet so our parents’ words and their perception of us becomes also our own perception of us.

If your parents or other primary caregivers used to criticise you a lot (which was my case for example), you might be suffering from a lot of self-doubt at the moment.

Realising that the voice of your inner critic is essentially the voice of your parents is the first step to letting go of it.

2. Influence of society

Another important source of self-doubt is the influence of society. You might remember those harsh words that your maths teacher said to you. Or perhaps that hurtful comment from a bully in the 3rd grade?

Such comments might strengthen the voice of self-criticism, especially in a situation where your parents already programmed you to feel inadequate and useless.

I used to be bullied because I was a chubby child and I used to stutter. On top of that, my parents used to criticise me a lot. These experiences made me suffer from a lot of self-criticism and low self-esteem.

Luckily, it is all up to us to take responsibility for ourselves and our life. The exercise that I am sharing with you below will help you reprogram your subconscious mind to release self-doubt.

Follow these three steps and start changing your perception of yourself and your life.

STEP 1: Understand the voice of your inner critic

Prepare a safe environment for yourself. Light a candle (if you like candles) and sit comfortably. You can meditate for a while to calm down your mind. When you are ready, ask yourself these questions:

When did your voice of self-criticism start?
What happened then?
What feeling and thoughts were triggered then?

Write down your answers without judging yourself.

Since these thoughts were planted in your subconscious mind when you were a child, they might have become your beliefs by now.

Write them all down with compassion and kindness towards yourself.

In the second part of this step, I’d like to invite you to look at your life and write down all the pieces of evidence that prove that those thoughts/beliefs are wrong.

If for example, one of the negative thoughts is “I can’t do anything right.” Think about your life and write down all the moments from your life when you did something right. Don’t hesitate to make a long list. Be proud of yourself.

Look at the list and realise that the negative thoughts you had created about yourself are just thoughts. They don’t define you. They are not truths about you.

Once you’ve done that, let’s move to step two.

STEP 2: Acknowledge the good intentions of your inner critic

The inner critic that is most probably your inner bully right now, used to keep you safe at some point in time.

Your inner critic has one purpose and that purpose is to keep you safe no matter what. That’s why your inner critic doesn’t want you to move towards your dreams because taking action towards your dreams most probably means taking some risks and trying out new things.

That’s the scenario that makes your inner critic even more loud and persistent. Acknowledging that your inner critic has good intentions will help you integrate this voice of yours with the other parts of you. Once you do that, your inner critic will automatically lose some of its powers.

In some shape or form, your inner critic will always be there. When you accept that that’s the reality of life, you will take the steering wheel back into your hands. Your inner critic might be always there waiting to offer its advice but it won’t be the driver of your life any more.

STEP 3: Focus on your inner child and give yourself love and acceptance

The last step to take to release the voice of your self-doubt is to connect to that little child in you that used to be criticised which led to developing self-doubt.

Imagine yourself as this little girl or a little boy. All this child wants is to be loved and accepted.

See your younger self in front of you. Look into your eyes and tell yourself that you love and accept yourself. Say it like you mean it. If you feel emotional, let these emotions flow through you.

If you want, tell yourself also other words of kindness. Say things you wished your parents had told you. Maybe the words you miss hearing from them are: You did so well. Or perhaps: You didn’t deserve this.

Make your inner child feel safe and loved.

Reconnecting with your inner child will not only release self-doubt but it will most probably heal other wounds that originate in your childhood.

Remember that this little girl or boy is still a part of you. They haven’t gone anywhere. Make sure if you stay in touch with them on a regular basis.

You might do this by having meditation sessions with your inner child. You might look at your childhood photos regularly.

You can also make it a habit to ask the younger you what he or she wants to do on, let’s say, Sunday afternoon.

Make this part of you an integral part of your life because it is your childhood where the crucial inner programming happened.

When this younger you is healed, the adult version of you will be healed too.

You can watch a video where I’m explaining this exercise here.

I hope you find this article useful. Do this exercise and check how much less self-doubt you have. Maybe you will need to repeat this exercise in order to gradually silence your inner critic and rebuild your confidence. If that’s the case, keep doing it until you feel the difference in how you perceive yourself.

Invest also in developing more self-love. It will help you release self-criticism more effectively and more quickly. In the article “8 simple practices to develop self-love, I’m sharing 8 simple practices that will help you develop more self-love in no time at all.

The road from self-doubt to self-confidence is neither straight nor short. I certainly know it from my own experience. It took me a lot of work and time to build my confidence to a level where I can write a blog post for my website. I’m proud of myself that I rise above the voice of my inner bully saying “who will even read this” but I know there is still some work to be done.

So keep going no matter how small the steps you are taking seem. If you ever feel overwhelmed or lost on your path towards self-confidence, message me. I will be happy to be of service however I can.