Self Criticism? How to Overcome Your Inner “I’m Not Good Enough” Voice

Worth Reading – from off the Web!

Instead of going down the beaten path of self-blame and self-punishment for not being “good enough”, we can rewire our brains to think and behave differently.

We live in a world where the theme of unworthiness shows up in all areas in life. As kids, we proudly show off our high marks and perfect behaviors knowing they will earn us praises and approval from adults, and as adults, we constantly judge and punish ourselves for our lack of wealth, success, relationships and others’ good opinions of us. In my healing and coaching practice, the most common story that is told over and over is the one of “I’m not good enough.”

That was the story of my life as well, for over 3 decades. Having grown up in an Asian culture in the 80’s where being an overachiever was encouraged, the accepted, even celebrated method to motivate children was to subject them to harsh criticism and belittling (ie. “who do you think you are”, “you are nothing until you prove your worth so you can be something”, etc.) As a result, I not only internalized the disempowering belief that “I am not good enough” but I also made sure it dominated and manifested in every area of my life — without fail.

As powerful as this or any belief can be, it is only a belief, and we can choose to liberate ourselves from it – simply because it isn’t who we are. If you are constantly battling with a similar story, I invite you to read and practice the following steps to take your power back from that self-limiting belief.

Signs, Signs Everywhere

The first sign is always what we call a negative feeling. Our feelings are intelligent communications from our bodies to indicate to us whether a belief is in or out of alignment with who we are. How we feel at any moment is filtered by our thoughts and our thoughts derive from our existing beliefs. When our beliefs are no longer serving us, our feelings – being the language of the soul in a very literal fashion will give us a little (or large) kick to raise an alert. When I am in a coaching session, whenever a story comes up that is out of alignment, I always ask my clients how it makes them feel. The answer is always along the line of “it makes me feel crappy.”

The signs can range from physical ailments such as lack of energy or tension in various parts of the body to mental and emotional symptoms such as procrastination, depression and anxiety; or they can be a combination of conditions from all levels including feeling a tight knot of anxiety in the stomach that is often accompanied by digestive issues.

Our beliefs also have clever ways to disguise themselves as positive as well as socially approved motivations and behaviors.

Perfectionism is one of them. For the longest time I unconsciously chose to tell the story of “I am a perfectionist” which allowed me to get away from the harsh voice of “I am not good enough.” Yet time and time again when I ruthlessly put myself down for every little perceived failure, I finally realized my perfectionism was only a sugar coated version of “I suck.”

Another common disguise is altruism, or people pleasing behavior. We convince ourselves it is noble of us to place others’ needs before ours as well as compromise our own happiness because it earns us praises such as compassionate, kind and selfless.

Some of us have the tendency to give ourselves up or lose ourselves completely in relationships. Our society has a very powerful reinforcement system when it comes to encouraging selfless behavior without addressing the fundamental notion that our first relationship is always the relationship with ourselves. Without loving, cherishing and respecting ourselves, there is no relationship with others. When we do not know how to value ourselves and make the highest choices for ourselves, how can we honor others as loving, deserving and worthy?

There is certainly nothing wrong with giving our best in circumstances and relationships. However, it is helpful to always do a little honest self-inquiry and ask ourselves how each decision makes us feel. And if it does not feel uplifting, what belief is underneath that decision?

When we practice consciously acknowledging our old patterns every by listening to what our bodies are trying to tell us, we are stepping out of the unconscious and reactive way of living so we can compose a response that allows us to freely create based on who we want to be rather than recreate past scenarios of who we were told to be.

Instead of going down that old beaten path that leads to nothing but a stinking swamp, aka the self-blame and self-punishment for not being worthy, we can choose again and create a new path. The more we can catch ourselves on auto pilot, the more we can rewire our brains to think and behave differently.

Decisions, Decisions

Read more here: Self Criticism? How to Overcome Your Inner “I’m Not Good Enough” Voice

Letting Go Of the Past to Appreciate the Present

Suffering doesn’t make us grow –

But what we do with our feelings could make us grow. ⚡️💡

It’s an interesting saying though. Where did it come from?  Perhaps it’s because anguish and acute awareness sometimes occur near one another, in time and space.dreamstime_m_43975880

For me, however, what makes us grow is understanding our feelings, questioning the thoughts behind them, seeing the cause-and-effect of it all. If we utilize this information the next time these feelings arise (anger, sadness, depression, confusion, fear), we can remember the awareness, aha moment, or insight we discovered before. We can  notice that what we are experiencing in the here and now is separate from the past.

Uncomfortable feelings are nearly always preceded by a stressful thought, and when the feelings come, we can isolate the stressful thought, idea, or assumption and question it thoroughly.contemplation

I find journaling a powerful aid here. Just write your rambling thoughts about a situation that made you uncomfortable (in your mind or in reality – doesn’t matter). Then let it set. You probably will already feel better because the act of writing is cathartic. But for true growth to occur, go back later and read what you wrote. Pretend you are a scientist!  Your job is to (compassionately) dissect your writing to find the threads of connection… Try asking these questions:

 1.  Have I ever felt this way before? Are there any other similarities? 

•   Personal example: going to son’s junior high school to deliver his ADHD medicine – it left me with a racing heart, a sense of urgency to complete the task, and an overall sense of shame. It made no sense in my logical mind.

 Have I ever felt this way before? Are there any other similarities? 

Turns out yes! Junior High was very scary for me. I was picked on by other girls and I was even beaten up a number of times. The threats often occurred when students were moving from one class their next, so I was especially scared when that bell rang!

2.  What were the beliefs/thoughts around the event? 

Thoughts– that caused the racing heart, urgency and intense fear. 

(BTW – I think I ‘should’ be embarrassed to share this, as the discovered back-thoughts seem so clearly absurd and immature… but, I wouldn’t have known these were the thoughts if I hadn’t compassionately listened…)

I might be attacked!.. Did I do something wrong???… If I can become unnoticeable, I might make it…             

Well – pretty obvious right? But my body didn’t know that , so:
junior high = made mistake (let son run out of meds)  = fear….

Let me say, I’m not reactive to junior high’s anymore.

By listening, compassionately, to your own mistaken, innocent mind, you can become free… from this, then that, then…

 

 

 

We don’t get to Choose our Souls’s Path…

 

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...So what makes us think we can control another’s path?

So much time spent trying to figure out what to do, given (insert problem HERE). What if it were simpler?

What if everything was a game of Charades – That the observations, the interpretations, and the conclusions – were based on the subtle clues exposed to us in Life?

Find the threads – the patterns in your life! They want to teach you something. Can you open to that? And that?

What have you learned? Share your insights with me!

 

More Posts

Being Who You Are

BeUrSelf

I stopped trying to be something different than who I am. It was exhausting. Confidence soon followed.

And guess what – others accepted the real me, too.

What if…?

Are you “codependent”?

Have you let other people’s behavior deeply affect you? Do you feel compelled to control others?

As Melody Beatty describes in her classic book Codependency No More, you are a codependent if you recognize yourself here:

“…the obsessing, the controlling, the obsessive ‘helping’, caretaking, low self-worth bordering on self-hatred, self-repression, abundance of anger and guilt, peculiar dependency on peculiar people, attraction to and tolerance of the bizarre, other-centeredness that results in abandonment of self, communication problems, intimacy problems, and an ongoing whirlwind trip through the five-stage grief process.” (p.36)

What if you could learn to accept responsibility for yourself and allow others’ to, in turn, experience responsibility for themselves? It is, after all, meant to be – we grow from experiencing our world, our environment. We find ourselves that way.

Try Mindfulness – It can help you learn to let go – to recognize what you can and cannot control.

 

Being Real

U R OK

Right? ;)

What does “being who you are” mean? 

It starts with monitoring less, being less anxious about making mistakes, and less apologetic about other people’s opinions of you.

Being Real means allowing yourself to evolve and change.

It requires being responsible for your own philosophies, opinions, and decisions, and accepting the myriad of contradictions that are part of life… Part of you.

Life is About Recycling!

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The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart.

To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.”
~ Pema Chödrön ~

… The lessons will keep coming until you get the message.

 

“…There is so much beauty in the world.

Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my life…” (from the film American Beauty)

… Ahhh! The message! :D