Your Harshest Critic Can be the Voice in Your Own Head
Are you your hardest critic? Is the self-critical voice in your head the loudest part of your self-talk? Do you secretly, earnestly fear there’s something wrong with you?
If so, you are not alone.
Low self-esteem is a common difficulty. Quite often, low self-esteem is propelled by shame. It can be crippling, disabling our inclinations to enjoy success, love, and the closeness of others. It can make everything seem bleak.
Do you often have these types of thoughts:
“Something’s wrong with me!”
“Why can’t I have it together like other people do?”
“I am not good enough.”
“I will never have what I need.”
“I have to be hard on myself, or I’ll get lazy.”
“I am so messed up!”
This is shaming rhetoric that keeps low self-esteem in check. Some experiences of shame that you might recognize are:
Feelings of inadequacy
Feelings of insecurity
Feelings of worthlessness
We all have stories around shame and early or key life experiences are often the foundation. Children can be shamed for being too loud, curious, or playful. Dysfunctional belief systems about ourselves may start quite early and affect us later in life. Qualities that could otherwise have developed into assertiveness, creativity, and innovation are clipped.
Some of us are shamed by not having the latest gadgets, which induces shame around poverty. It affects us differently based upon gender– women may feel pressure to look a certain way or are perceived as being “too emotional” or “hormonal,” while men are ambushed for vulnerabilities. We are shamed for our sexuality, and many in the LGBTQ+ community have stigmas of shame attached to their sense of self.
We may try to numb it with alcohol or avoid certain ventures. We may try to match up to an ideal that is “corrective” from botox injections to untethered perfection-seeking.
In psychotherapy, we can improve your self-compassion. And, no, that does not make you weak. You do not have to “buck up” or “toughen up” to fly right. There may be many distortions at work to sort through to discern your true self, embrace your identity, and experience yourself as worthwhile. When you recognize your true self-worth, you grow in awareness of belonging, kindness, compassion, empathy, and love. Your life transforms as you are open to kinder people, notice opportunities that are good for you and are better able to respond without fear and insecurity. You come to learn that you are, in fact, enough.
EMDR can be especially helpful with automatic conditioning from our preverbal years and through childhood where attachment distress in relation to our early caretakers resulted in chronic self, relational, and emotional regulation difficulties.
Please contact me and schedule an appointment to begin your journey towards healing and transformation.