Self-criticism is an illness only YOU can heal

Photo by NEOM on Unsplash

It’s not uncommon for most of us to be critical of ourselves. What’s interesting with this matter is that, we actually assume self-criticism to be “normal.”

We assume that it’s normal to be difficult with ourselves. We assume that it’s normal to constantly beat ourselves up. We assume that it’s normal to continuously bring ourselves down.

Whatever we do, whether praised or not by others, either we have to do more, or, we could’ve done a better job. Perhaps, we find such an approach to life as being “noble.” Suffering is after all worshiped in this world. The truth is, however, that living in such a way is everything but normal.

Let’s not even touch the subject of the amount of stress imposed on the body and mind while we indulge in negativity.

We could go on and on, regarding the causes behind such mental behaviours — mainly relating to childhood, the “hustle” culture, and you know, this kind of stuff. But let’s focus instead on more productive matters.

As much as it may seem to be normal, criticizing oneself is not.

In fact, it’s everything but normal since it isn’t aligned with higher principles. We’re told to be good and kind with each other, whether through our religious scriptures, or some common sense. Truth is, how can we ever be good with one another as long as we are our worst enemy?

Let’s think about that for a minute or two.

As human beings, we are brothers and sisters. Yes, we may differ outwardly — but ultimately, we are brothers and sisters since we all journey together through space on this “mothership” that is the Earth.

What others are, we are. Flesh, bones, thinking, feeling, experiences, and so on. What I love in others — it’s what I am myself. How can I love you as a human being as long as I criticize myself?

Why can’t I be nice to myself? In most cases, because I live in the past. I still blame myself for my mistakes. I still blame others for theirs. I could be fifty years old today — yet, I still can’t forgive myself for having fallen in love with a person when I was twenty, and having that person rob me and my family of our hard earned money. An example.

The longer we let those thoughts and emotions to themselves, the more the past prevails in our lives. We’re all told that the only time there is is the “Now.” Some of us have actually experienced this “Now.” And for those of us who are unfamiliar with it, well, what else exists except this very moment?

Yet, we are rarely capable of living in this “Now” for more than a few hours, sometimes minutes.

Why is that? Because soon enough, those unresolved issues resurface, and hook us back into the past. And how do we react to this past? Usually we feel in pain (I failed, I’m a horrible person, I’m not good enough). And as a way to cope with it, we project a future of revenge as an example, or we take a pill, and so on.

As long as we live in this web of time, we cannot fully live. We cannot fully appreciate what we have — this rare moment, with its exquisite beauty. And what this tells us is that, living in constant criticism whether of others or ourselves is in direct opposition to living healthily, sanely, and as we were meant to.

We are never criticized by Life. Most of the time we believe we are, and that makes us very sad — to feel hated, unappreciated, lonely, and punished. But those are projections of our unresolved issues.

The past exists in our mind because it holds lessons for us. And here’s the most interesting thing about it — whatever happened, it cannot justify the constant emotional and mental torture we put ourselves through for lifetimes.

Be gentle with yourself. We live in a “trial-and-error” reality. Mistakes are inevitable. No point feeling ashamed for making them. That’s what everyone does. And that’s why there’s so much suffering in this world.

Don’t let your mistakes — your past — hold you back. Find the courage to stand back on your feet. And confront those fears. Live boldly, and gently. That’s how we learn.

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