3 Things You Don’t Realize When You Are Busy Judging Yourself

self-compassion self-love self-worth Jan 31, 2021
woman judging criticizing herself


Do you ever judge yourself? Criticize yourself? Speak harsh words to yourself?


If I rewind back 10 years, it’s not difficult for me to see that all I did was fuss, contend, and try to live with this inner voice of mine that kept telling me:


“Stop being so…”


“You should be more…”


“You are too…”


“Why can’t you be more…”


I just wanted it to stop!


“Stooooop,” I would grumble. “Pleaaase stop.”


Do any of these statements ring a bell?


I bet they do. This voice of self-judgment that I have, that you have, that we all have– some call it an inner critic, others a mind bully, and still others call it one of many other names that capture its less-than-nice essence.


And today, I can honestly tell you that my inner world is no longer ruled by the inner critic. It’s gone from 100% ruling my life to being around maybe 5-10% of the time. And when it is around that 5-10% of the time, it doesn’t overtake me. Because I’ve learned a thing or two. And that’s exactly what I’ll be sharing with you today.


Why should you care? Why should each of us take the time to care about this inner critic that we’ve got? Because the words uttered by your inner critic don’t come without consequences. Typically, they result in you feeling inadequate, unworthy, or “less than”, right? And this impacts the entire course of your life.


In hopes that– by seeing this inner voice in a new light– you can become the confident, self-loving person that you are meant to be, here are the three things you don’t realize when you are busy judging yourself.


1. When you are busy judging yourself, you don’t realize that you can use self-judgment to lift you up, not tear you down.


When you’re in the midst of intense self-judgment and self-criticism, you can’t hear any other voice, right? Being judged feels horrible. It feels horrible when others do it to you… and it feels equally if not more horrible when you do it to yourself. But what if we turned our perspective on our inner critic around? What would happen then? Might we see our self-judgment in a new way?


Hear this: Your critic is not as tough as it looks like on the outside.


Yes, this big bully is not actually as strong and mean as it looks. Like all bullies, on the inside, it’s really afraid. By judging you, it is (in a misguided way) trying to help you. It doesn’t realize it’s hurting you.


Your inner critic’s goal? It’s to keep you from getting hurt or not making it in the future with everything that you need. Your inner critic is afraid and it thinks that some change needs to happen in order for you to be okay moving forward. It doesn’t trust that you will be okay if this change or improvement that it’s insisting on doesn’t happen, and it tries to earn this control it wants by criticizing you.


You see, the voice of your inner critic is a reflection of the voices you heard externally as a child. Your inner critic was once your outer critic, whether your mom, dad, school teacher, or whomever it was that got you to do things you didn’t want to do. So now, in adulthood, your inner critic similarly assumes that criticizing you is the only way to get you to do things you don’t want to do.


And you try to shush it, don’t you? You try to tell it to stop judging, don’t you? I understand. You think that will effectively get it to go away. But it won’t. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but trying to silence and fight your inner critic will not work. There’s no use ignoring it. It’s loud, right? There’s also no use arguing with it or telling it that its message isn’t correct. It’s pretty adamant about what it believes and it only gets louder when you try to shush it. And there’s no use in trying to replace its voice with positive self-talk because it thinks it’s doing the best job for you... that it’s helping you… and so it won’t go away in this manner.


Remember? Your inner critic is trying to keep you safe by helping you to be what you were taught you needed to be in order to be okay and in order to be loved in childhood (e.g., beautiful, successful, smart, etc). You can’t silence it or get rid of it, so I urge you to please stop trying (Don’t fret, there is something you can do when it comes to your inner critic… keep reading on).

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but trying to silence and fight your inner critic will not work.

2. When you are busy judging yourself, you don’t realize that you are not what you think yourself to be in this moment or even on this day.


Who are you? What is the bigger picture of you? The full picture… the full truth of who you are? The bigger picture of who you are that you may lose sight of when you are judging yourself is that you are a multiplicitous human being– meaning you are made of many parts. Some prefer to judge, some prefer to criticize, and many others know how to experience and express compassion, kindness, and love. There are many other facets of you whose intention it is to exhibit virtues that help you to contribute to yourself, to those around you, and to all of the world in positive ways.


So, when you are in the depths of self-judgment, keep in mind that this inner critic that likes to judge and degrade you in hopes that you will do the things it believes are necessary for you to be safe and well, is certainly a part of you right now (otherwise it wouldn’t be showing up, right?). And equally so, there is also a wise, compassionate part of you. You don’t have to believe your inner critic. You can hear its voice among the others that exist within you too.

And that brings us to #3.


3. When you are busy judging yourself, you don’t realize that there is a way to create harmony amidst self-judgment, and that way is curiosity.


I mentioned that you don’t have to believe your inner critic. But you do have to listen to it… or it will just continue to do the thing that it knows how to do best: criticize. That’s what it thinks it needs to do to help keep you moving forward in life, to help keep you safe and well, right?


Try this.


Instead of judging, observe and discern your qualities and behaviors, including the part of you that thinks it needs to criticize you. Then, simply hear what your inner critic has to say. If you have weaknesses (we all do), then great! What does your inner critic have to say about them? What questions can you ask this critical part of you to get to know its stance better? What can you learn about it? What does it want you to know? What does it not want to happen? In contrast, what does it want and need? And how can you create an environment that supports its needs over time?


The antidote to judgment is curiosity. By acknowledging, listening to, and understanding your inner critic, you can create balance with respect to the role that it plays in your life. You can begin to develop a relationship with it that isn’t simply antagonistic, but one that is harmonious and that genuinely serves your best interest into the future.


“Thank you for being concerned about me. Thank you for wanting what’s best for me. Would it be okay if we try to work together to build a future that I love rather than only using criticism to get there?”


This is what I say to my inner critic, day in and day out. And with time, it’s softened a bit… it’s learned to be on my side in ways other than criticism… and it’s allowed a kinder, more compassionate world to develop within.


If learning how to navigate self-judgment and grow in self-love is a goal of yours, join us in The Happiness Hub where we dive deep into self-love, learn valuable skills, and support one another in our personal journeys to cultivating happiness from within. Simply click here to join us!


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