I’m not a fan of constant self-criticism. Calling yourself fat, ugly and stupid on a daily basis is a step backwards, in my books. It totally blocks your intuition and evolutionary progress. So why are we so self-critical as a race, and how can we turn this habit around?
Self-criticism is impatience with the process. We are all souls making a pit stop on Earth. Although we may go off track at times, this is perfectly fine at the spiritual level. Our guides know that the only way to master being a human is through trial and error, and will support us no matter what.
Many years ago, I had a teacher called Peter Conna who said “Successful people make up their minds quickly, and change them slowly. Unsuccessful people make up their minds slowly, and change them quickly.” What a great quote. Although success is a subjective concept (really, if you are alive you are a winner), Peter convinced me that meaningful results are rarely instant.
An Oak tree takes twenty to fifty years to produce its first acorn. A chef takes hours (or even days) to prepare a 10-course meal. Self-criticism arises when we lose patience with the process. We forget we are growing acorns or making a feast, and wonder if we should harvest dandelions or eat cr*p instead. We try to ‘force life’ instead of being life force.
The link between ego and self-criticism
Your ego and level of self-criticism are closely linked. In energy healing, they reflect the state of your solar plexus chakra
(above your navel), which includes organs such as the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen and stomach. This area is known as your power centre, or ‘core’ in yoga.
I used to think it was bad to have a big ego, or any ego. Now I believe that it’s useful to have a healthy ego or solar plexus, because it gives you commitment, discipline and willpower. You just have to learn how to manage it, so it doesn’t go out of balance and result in self-criticism.
How self-criticism robs you of drive
Self-criticism is a sign of an overactive
ego or solar plexus chakra. Other symptoms can include a busy mind you can’t turn off, trouble sleeping, a loss of appetite (or binge eating) and low tolerance of flaws in yourself and others. It’s a tiring way to live, and occurs when you allow your ego to rule you instead of the other way around.
If you had parents who talked over you, you may be predisposed to an overactive solar plexus, as it reflects how your relationship with authority.
Excessive self-criticism leads to health problems, especially mood and digestive issues. Imagine that your body is a car, or a vehicle for your mind. Ideally your mind should be driving, with your soul as the GPS system keeping it honest.
Your thoughts have a physical impact. What would happen if, every time your car needed fuel you kicked it for being weak? Or if, whenever you got lost you broke a mirror. Pretty soon you will have a worn out car and literally, a lack of drive. This is a tragedy, because your mind and soul can’t do much without a body to transport them. Yet this can be the result of constantly insulting yourself – a lack of respect for your body and eventual mental/ physical breakdown.
Becoming self-supportive in 10 steps
So, what’s the opposite of constant self-criticism? It’s self-support, or self-gratitude – a life where you encourage yourself as if you were an innocent child again. Here are 10 steps to get you onto this path, starting from now:1) Understand that your body absorbs everything you say. When you criticise it, you create an emotional disconnect that creates inner grief and procrastination. To break this cycle you need to create new habits. Next time you insult yourself, take a breath and apologise. Place a hand over your mouth and say ‘sorry I didn’t mean that’. Or hug or kiss yourself better. Even better, take up singing. Train your inner voice to be a canary instead of a hoarse crow.
2) Add Angels into your life. Both spiritual and human ones! I find prayer and meditation the key to creating ‘mental space’ and clarity. I often ask Archangels Raphael, Michael and Chamuel to help me to stay gracious. Find people who respect themselves and learn from them. They could be healers, friends, partners, relatives or even pets. Allowing people (or animals) to love you as you are is a great act of courage.
3) Eat and sleep regularly. Hungry, tired people seek shortcuts, because they don’t have the energy to take the long, sure route. They also make more mistakes. If you keep yourself half-starved (e.g. by skipping meals or eating takeaway or leftovers), you’re setting yourself up for failure. Try switching to home-cooked meals and going to bed by 10pm. Go easy on the alcohol and grease. These practices will keep your liver happy and reduce irritability. Get a blood test if you’re constantly cranky. Maybe you’re low on vital nutrients or have a blood sugar issue.
4) Learn to laugh at your inner critic. When you hear that broken record start up, tell it to shush or make fun of it. Some people imagine their critic is talking to them in a Bugs Bunny or squeaky voice. When you can laugh at something you know you have won. Belly laughter and deep breathing also help to quiet the mind. I should mention, I’m not against all criticism, after all, feedback is great fertiliser for growth. What I want to silence is that nagging voice that keeps you in fear. As Don Miguel Ruiz
wrote in his beautiful book The Mastery of Love, ‘true love corrects only once’.
5) Quit or correct abusive situations. If you put a fish in a tank with sharks it will become paranoid. Stress fuels self-criticism, because it’s only natural to lash out at others or blame yourself when you feel trapped. You teach people how to treat you. The more abuse you tolerate, the more abuse you encourage in the world. Don’t be an enabler. Either get support to stand up and speak out, or make an exit. And minimise your exposure to doom and gloom media. What you judge you become.
6) Strengthen your heart and solar plexus. Give your mind a rest by focusing on your body. Your heart is the centre of forgiveness. It thrives on air so the more fresh oxygen you pump through the more you will let go of the past. Your core muscles (abs) help you to feel strong. Doing dance, martial arts, pilates or situps willl keep this area in balance. Exercise gives us the energy to kick goals (and silence that inner critic).
7) Write down your worries in a diary. What we suppress, controls us. Dump your worries on paper once a week to get them out of your head. Circle the ones that seem the worst. Make mindmaps of how you can resolve them. If you don’t kill your worries one by one like flies, they will keep multiplying.
8) Keep a success scrapbook.
Collect photos of your loved ones and achievements (awards, trip photos etc.) Put them in a book or even a ‘happy box’. Include letters, emails or quotes that make you feel good. Add to it regularly, especially when you are feeling down. This will shift you back into gratitude.
9) Unwrap the gift of criticism. As a naturally self-critical person, I found great relief from my painful inner dialogue through studyingThe Work
of Byron Katie. By turning around my beliefs about myself and others I was able to gain freedom and take back control of my brain.
Now when I have a self-critical thought, I know how to step back and filter it. Then, using my intuition and trusty journal, I decide whether to throw it this criticism or investigate it further. My Holistic Counselling
studies and daily meditation also helped in this regard.
10) Climb a mountain or go to the beach. One of the dangers of living in a city is you gradually start believing that everything can be controlled. All that pavement, street signage and boxy architecture can stunt our creativity. So next time your inner critic is having an, um, field day, take it to an actual field (or mountain, or beach). Nature is a glorious mess and proud of it. Water reminds us that nothing is permanent. Sunlight is also great medicine for your ‘soul’-ar plexus, as Vitamin D encourages optimism.
I hope these 10 steps help you to put your inner critic back in its box.Please be kind to yourself and don’t judge at your mind for being itself. It’s just a training thing. If a dog is allowed to bark all day, it will keep doing so until taught otherwise. So let the peaceful journey begin!
With best wishes,
Professional Psychic Reader
0408 898 028 (SMS preferred)