(NaturalNews) Personal development bloggers are notorious for blowing sunshine.
Their overall message seems to be: You are so wonderful, so powerful, so perfect as you are. You just need to realize what a magnificent soul you are and everything will be fine. To many bloggers, you'd think that no one has any actual faults.
People are not always wonderful, though, are they? And neither are you, right?
In fact, there may even be some truth behind the self-criticisms you lay on yourself, if you are to be honest. The purpose of this article is to consider just that. Congratulations if you are one of the mature souls who is capable of such a thing!
What a follows are five common self-criticisms. I'll discuss the nature of the criticism, how it may be true and what to do about it.
Self-criticism #1: You are not special.
The criticism: You tell yourself you are nothing special and it lowers your self-esteem.
How this may be true: We may as well face it. None of us is all that special in the grand scheme of things. At least, we are no more special than the person next to us. If I am super special, then you are super special and everyone, in turn, is super special.
If everyone is super special, then super special is the norm, which makes no one all that special.
What to do: If you have a voice in your head telling you that you are not special, you can agree that, yes, you are an ordinary human being. Given your ordinary existence, what can you do that you find meaningful? Now, that is a worthwhile thing to figure out!
Stop worrying about being special and start doing something meaningful - something that makes a difference in the world.
Self-criticism #2: You don't deserve...
The criticism: You tell yourself you don't deserve things like love, wealth or happiness.
How this may be true: On one level, every human being is born innocent and deserving of life and love. No questions.
Eventually, however, adult reality needs to set in and you must begin to get things based on merit. You will not merit love from people if you are a total jerk. You won't earn money unless you provide value. You won't be happy unless you understand and live values that lend themselves to happiness. This is not a matter of deserving - deserving went away when you became an adult.
What to do: Stop focusing on deserving and focus on merit. You'll likely get love when you become a more loving person to others. If you learn to create more value, you'll get more money. If you live with inner congruency, you'll be happy.
If you don't, you won't, no matter how much you think you deserve. Deserve is as deserve does!
Self-criticism #3: You are not enough.
The criticism: You harp on yourself for perceived inadequacies, telling yourself that you are not "enough." It tends to create inferior feelings and serve as a major justification to stop making efforts.
How this may be true: None of us is all-knowing, all-powerful or even self-sufficient. All of us need help and cooperation from others - every single day - just to perform basic tasks, such as taking a shower. We need help from the utility company, the soap manufacturer, the shampoo makers and the contractor who built the shower. We wouldn't even understand the basics of personal hygiene if someone hadn't taught us. We live inter-dependent lives and no one is self-sufficient - no one. Of course you are not enough on your own. Why is "being enough" a goal?
What to do: Focus on connecting with others and making a contribution, and receiving the contributions of others.
Self-Criticism #4: You can't have what you want.
The criticism: You tell yourself that you simply cannot have something desirable, like success in business or a relationship.
How this may be true: You simply may not get what you want. Anyone feeling entitled to have everything he wants is an emotional child. When you hear that voice in your head claiming you cannot have something, first evaluate it from a realistic, adult perspective.
Can you have that Bentley in the next 12 months, even though you are earning close to minimum wage now? No. You cannot. Stop hoping for it long enough to grow up and set a more realistic goal, like how to get to $20 per hour in the next year.
Can I, as a 45-year-old man, win Wimbledon? No. I cannot have that. I will never win Wimbledon. I do not have the talent or the endurance, even though I have the passion and the desire. If I do not accept this reality, I may torture myself (and my family) forever.
What to do: When you set major goals in life, run them by a few people that you trust to give you honest feedback. One of these people may be a professional coach. Tell them you want honest feedback on whether or not your goals seem realistic and achievable. Look for opportunities to chunk them down to manageable sizes.
You never have to stop making progress in life, one step at a time.
Self-criticism #5: You're going to fail.
The criticism: You taunt yourself, predicting failure at whatever you have planned.
How this may be true: You are going to fail. In fact, failure is so common that you will be handicapped if you can't deal with it effectively.
The ability to view failure as a normal part of the process of life is critical to accomplishing anything meaningful. In fact, no one gets anywhere without failing. It is an essential feedback loop. Accepting failure is the key to success.
When my wife was in art school she had a project that required her to repeat the same assignment over and over. Each time she completed it, the professor told her to do it again.
She must have done the assignment five or six times, each time hoping he would say it was good and she could stop. He never did. It turned out that he wasn't interested in Hope getting it "right." There was no right answer. It was about the process of learning there are many ways to approach something, with each of them leading to a different outcome.
Not knowing the professor's plan, Hope thought she was failing miserably. She got more and more discouraged each time. This turned out to be a great lesson. It taught her to not see failure as an obstacle to be avoided. Now, she just goes for things, not getting attached to the outcome, knowing that whatever happens is OK.
What to do: Yes, you will fail. Accept failure as a common experience. Learn the lesson in the failure and move on.
In my years as a therapist and life coach, I have never worked with anyone who could not move beyond their self-criticism by ceasing to resist, accepting any truth in the message and moving ahead with an open mind.
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