Low self-esteem is made up of many factors, one of them is critical thinking – these are the negative thoughts we have about ourselves over and over again which fuel the rules we put in place for ourselves to live by which can have detrimental effects on ourselves and relationships.
We’re often taught as children to be critical of ourselves disguised as modesty. This then resonates with us as adults and becomes habit. We walk through the motions of our daily lives picking out events, reactions, behaviours and emotions that are wrong. We judge ourselves and become critical of who we are. If we were to do this to others, I wonder how we would feel? Possibly like a bully?
So why bully ourselves?
Self-criticism is unfair – it makes us hyper sensitive to the smallest of acts and become overly critical towards them. Really though we have millions of thoughts and feelings everyday so be realistic – they can’t all be bad!
Our learning is blocked from self-criticism – it undermines our confidence and makes us feel bad about ourselves. This in turn does not help us to overcome what we perceive our problems to be as prevents clear thinking. Imagine at work if you never had any praise, you worked hard and were committing but no one rewarded this behaviour – you would not feel encouraged or motivated and therefor accept you are bad at your job. We can’t write ourselves off every time we make an error but take the mistake and learn from it.
Self-criticism really though supports us to ignore the realities of what we are like. This is not to say when we do do tings wrong we should automatically let ourselves off the hook to be more proactive about our emotional growth. It does however mean you should look at all the factors, did we make mistakes because we were tired, what other factors played a part?
There is little point kicking ourselves when we already feel low. This only supports the demoralisation of ourselves and further lower our self-esteem. We all go through stressful events and react very naturally to them. This natural way of reacting is personal to us. This is ok.
Coming up on Sunday are the ways to combat these critical thoughts and how to be more proactive in keeping them at bay.