We are our own worst and best critics

I had an epiphany in the shower yesterday. I came to the sudden realization that within ourselves we have the power to both build ourselves up and systematically deconstruct ourselves. The latter is extremely painful, loud, and dangerous. It also sticks out like a sore thumb, for some it may even permeate from our presence and clear a room of any positive feelings.

We beat ourselves up for various reasons. After repeated beatings it can be very dangerous as we can go into a  vicious cycle which can manifest itself in hundreds of different ways; bad health choices, bad life decisions, sleeping all day, playing games, and watching TV all day to name a few common ones.

But why? Why? Why? Why? … Why? Re-read that, after each why I want you to pick something that you have been upset about not doing or wondering why you can’t change something (Like sticking to a diet, going out for a run, sending that e-mail off to your family, asking your boss for that promotion you feel you deserve…), and answer each why, better yet write it down on a piece of paper. Be honest with yourself. This is known as the 5 Whys technique, while it doesn’t help you fix an issue you’ve been dealing with, it can help you identify what is holding you back. Sometimes it can be fear, other times it could be simply that you don’t feel like it is as important as your “me time”, whatever that might be.

Once you have identified what is holding you back you can work to change that. You can use this technique  pretty much for any issue you are not happy about or may feel guilty about. My suggestion, though, once you have this list in front of you, sleep on it, then the next day formulate a plan to address the issue.

I used this specifically to snap out of a self-destructive cycle that had become so insidious that I misconstrued a common saying, that it is OK to be fat, and somehow convinced myself that being fat is healthy–It’s OK, right?? It had actually become a such a sore point over the years that I buried those feelings deep down and forgot about them.

Only when I started to be truly honest to myself about my weight, I was able to see how deep I had been lying to myself. Once I realized this, I took about half a week to formulate plan to fix my weight issues.

You may be wondering what about the best critic part–that’s the beauty of our inner critic, once we realize how to work with our internal critic and apply a mental framework like I’ve outlined so far, the worst critic really is our best critic.

It really is that simple. It comes down to taking those negative feelings, being honest with yourself, and identifying the root cause. The next part is action and it’s up to you to fix it if you feel its worth fixing.