I am worthless. I am so dumb. I am ugly. I am a failure. I will be alone forever. No one truly loves me. Do these statements seem familiar to you? Do you often have thoughts that lead you thinking poorly of yourself? Do you need ways to recognize and combat self-criticism? Today we will break this down and talk about why we default to these thought patterns as well as ways to combat them.
Self-criticism is when we have a tendency to think primarily negative of ourselves. Having such a poor outlook on ourselves can lead to different feelings of worthlessness, guilt and shame to name just a few. Some of the reasons we might default to self-criticism can be growing up with a parent who is strict without a balance of support and love, experiencing bullying, having a self-focused possibly narcissistic family member who is impacting us. These are only a few of the reasons we may default to negative self-talk and thoughts. When left without help, self-criticism can lead to depression, anxiety, relationship struggles or isolation.
Why Do I Have Such Negative Thoughts?
Self-criticism is a learned habit or belief. When we experience someone or others repeated telling us that we did something wrong, or not good enough, or not fast enough, it is easy to live in the belief that we simply are not good. When our parents or closest care givers are the ones who feed us with these negative inputs or abuse us in some way, it leaves scars within us that we may need help working through those words we were talk and how we will move forward in truth.
Some traits to help determine toxic environments from childhood are listed below.
- Use of Manipulation
- Conditional Love
- Demanding Obedience
- Harsh Punishment
- Criticism For Each Decision Made
- Standards of Perfection
Recognizing when our childhood involved toxic behaviors can be overwhelming and trigger emotions that can be painful, hard to process and move forward from. Are you ready to combat self-criticism?
How Do Negative Thoughts Affect Me?
Having habitual patterns of negative thoughts can affect every aspect of our lives, from our health to our jobs or relationships. It is crucial that we work with someone who can help us not only understand why we have our self-critical thoughts, but also how to over them and experience more joy in our life. Prolonged patterns of negative thinking affects our brains ability to process problems and come to resolutions. They lead to depression, anxiety and addictions. We are also more likely to develop dementia or memory issues. Our mental health is important for the health of our bodies. How can you know if having self-criticism affects you today? Below are common traits that can exist when a person is affected by being critical of themselves.
- Deeply Affected by Personal Mistakes
- Feelings of Guilt or Shame
- Inability to Reveal Truth
- Avoid Expressing Your Opinion
- Compare Yourself to Others
- Never Satisfied
If you find yourself connecting to a few of these traits, take a deep breath. There is help. You don’t have to live with the negative thoughts forever. Below are ways you can combat self-criticism on your own. If you have tried some of these and find yourself still struggling, you are not alone. We are here to help you.
How Can I Combat Self-Criticism?
When negative thoughts are the majority of our thoughts, we can “live in our own head”. Hardly reaching out to others or allowing ourselves to “feel” what we are experiencing. Below are a few suggestions that can help you combat self-criticism.
- Pause a moment. What do you see. What do you smell. What do you hear.
- Feel and appreciate the things in your present.
- Practice defining you are having a thought, rather than accepting it as truth.
- Choose what is next.
When you find yourself in a place of deep negative thoughts, it will take intention to help you out of it. It will take repetitive exercises such as the above to disrupt the pattern. Practicing being present in you’re here and now can help break up the thoughts and over time help you combat self-criticism.
Overcoming negative thoughts can be hard. We are here to help you through your journey. You are not alone.