How to Overcome Our Criticisms of Ourselves
We are told to be good people throughout our lives. We are told to go out into the world, each and every day, and be the very best person that we can be to others. In the world’s most common religions, we are taught to love our neighbors, love our enemies, love each other. Charities exist for us to do good for other people and give back to the world. Sports are full of the concept of teamwork, and doing what is best for the people around you. There is absolute truth in these teachings, and value to be found in stepping back from your own self-interest.
However, as much as we work to be kind to others, it is incredibly difficult for a lot of us to extend that love to ourselves. For many of us, it isn’t hard to love others. It is easy for us to forgive people for their flaws and mistakes, but it is near-impossible for us to forgive ourselves. We are the harshest critic of ourselves. No other person can tear us down like we can because no one can understand us as we do. We know what we want to do, and who we want to be. When we fall short of that, it is easier for us to ridicule ourselves. This is called self-blame. Our repeated anger and ridicule of ourselves put us in a bad place, and that kind of self-abuse is one of the hardest parts of our mental illness.
At the core of our self-doubt, self-loathing, and self-abuse is a reluctance to accept our humanity. We cannot see beyond our imperfections, and we continually seek to be perfect. What we don’t realize is that at the heart of being human is imperfection, and within that imperfection is perfection. Being human is a disaster. It is messy, and we are continually falling short of our goals. Because of this, we hold ourselves to impossible standards. This kind of mindset creates an immense sense of shame. We feel lesser because of it, and we feel inferior to others, which is a sure way to lose self-confidence. By holding ourselves to these standards, we are setting ourselves up for failure and ensuring that we are not going to find the success we are looking for.
The truth is that our imperfections are part of what makes us beautiful. We are creations of chaos, uncertainty, and randomness. We are meant to fall and pick ourselves back up, we are meant to stumble and keep going. Our goal is to take the punches and blows and continue on despite setbacks. We have to reach a point of self-acceptance and self-love. Impossible standards are wrapped up in our ego, which tells us that we should be better than anyone else. Eventually, we will fall short of such lofty goals. Instead, by removing ourselves from our ego, we can accept our humanity and our imperfections. We can find a way to live a life without worrying about not being the best. We have to take responsibility for ourselves without taking the blame. We can learn to accept our actions and take ownership of them without shaming ourselves. If we can look at a situation and say that we acted with authenticity and to the best of our abilities, then we can know that anything that went wrong was out of our control.
Of course, this is something that takes time, and it takes a lot of focus to find that kind of mindset. It takes a lot of self-reflection, a lot of deconstructing who we think we are, and analyzing who we want to be. It will be a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end. Having clarity about your limitations, accepting your imperfections and shortcomings, and loving yourself for being flawed, are essential to self-acceptance. It won’t be a simple process with a perfect result. Instead, this process is intertwined with our humanity and has its own beautiful imperfections.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]