Many of us consider ourselves to be our own worst critics and I used to think so, too. I was always so hard on myself to the point of perfectionism. Then one day I began to see things differently. I started to realize that other people's opinions of me and what they thought I should be doing were so imbedded into my mind that their expectations became stronger than my own wants and needs. I inevitably realized that the self criticism that tortured my mind for years was not in response to my voice. In actuality, it was self-criticism and self-punishment for not living up to expectations of others. Slowly I began to eliminate their opinions.
If you have felt this type of guilt and thought this way, the truth is, you're not really disappointing anyone through your actions. These people are only disappointed in you (when your actions differ from their vision of what you should be doing) because they are losing control of you. These are not friends, nor are they people you should be taking advice from.
Think back to the things you always beat yourself up over. Do you beat yourself up over failures that caused you disappointment or are you being hard on yourself for not living up to other people's desires for who you are and who you should be? I guarantee that the majority of failures and things you hold against yourself belong to the latter category.
You know who you truly are and who you want to be. Don't let other people muddle your thoughts. Speak your truth and people of substance will appreciate your wisdom. We are not on this Earth to regurgitate what others expect us to regurgitate. When we do this, we lose our identity and certainly cheat everyone out of what we truly have to offer.
Why die a copy when you were born an original?
When your thoughts have been completely muddled by the needs and opinions of others, it can be difficult to reconnect with your own deepest desires and feelings. Depending on how far away you have been pulled from your personal identity, it may be difficult to remember who you are and where you want to go. There are a few ways you can rediscover yourself and find your way back to your own goals and values.
1. Think About It
Think about your disappointments one at a time and identify if you are truly disappointed for failing or if your disappointment stems from an outside source. You must identify which disappointments are actually yours and which disappointments have been created by the pressure and expectations placed on you by others. Do this with every disappointment you can think of and take notes.
2. Identify Your Identity
After making a list of of these disappointments, identify whether the instances in which you disappointed others actually disappointed you as well (by not living up to your own expectation of yourself). If you feel that they did not disappoint you and don't really have a place in your identity, you should trash these ideas and forgive yourself. The only disappointments worth holding onto are the ones that actually mean something to you. These types of disappointments can be useful catalysts for change; valuable learning tools that can propel you in the direction of your best you.
3. Reconnect with the Real You
Once you have done this mental spring cleaning, it is important to reconnect with your own wants and desires. Think about what you like to do or what you would like to do and make a plan to get back on track.
4. Rediscover Your Passion
Remember your passion and if you don't remember it or never have known what it was, now would be a good time to discover it. Working towards goals you are passionate about is the key to being your best self and living a happy life. To do this you must identify the things and the activities that you truly enjoy.
You will realize that, for the most part, you have never been your own worst critic, but allowed the voices of many critics to infiltrate you mind. Eventually you will no longer find the need for self criticism and in the end, when you rediscover who you really are, you will feel better than you ever have.
If you'd like to explore this further, take a look at my other post, How to Find Your Passion.
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