Do you feel and believe that you are good enough? If I had to pick one issue I see the most in my practice, it’s self-criticalness. As opposed to narcissism where a person is defended against seeing any faults in themself, self-criticalness is like fault-finding on steroids. So let’s break it down a little bit.
What’s your measure of good enough?
Which qualities do you hold most important? Beauty? Career Success? Kindness? Humility? Intelligence?
Those are all pretty nice qualities and I’m sure we could come up with lots more that we feel it’s important to embody in order to be a really cool, worthy, lovable person.
The thing is, when a self-critical part of ourselves is in the driver’s seat our negativity bias* causes us to zero in on the ways we feel like we DON’T live up to our expectations and use those instances as proof that we’re just NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
*(The negativity bias is the phenomena by which humans give more psychological weight to bad experiences than a good ones. In fact, some researchers assert that negative emotions have an impact close to 3x stronger than positive emotions)
Take this example: You want to be confident. You feel like you should be confident in order to be a cool enough person. So when you go to a party and feel insecure you notice that and use it as proof that you’re NOT who you’re supposed to be. Then you feel shitty about that and also feel like you have to hide the insecurity.
It’s such a trap!!!!
What if we were to acknowledge that we have an insecure part. What if we are able to see that our Self can notice scared or angry or selfish parts of ourselves and that that doesn’t mean we’re bad. What if those parts were recognized as wounding and emotional needs and we attended to them? Because I’ll tell you what:
You will NEVER forcefully expunge yourself from all the negative qualities you dislike.
But NOT IN A BAD WAY.
Give up like ACCEPT.
Your kind, grown-ass self needs to accept that you have a young part inside (formed from trauma OR “just” normal everyday childhood wounding) that worries about being insecure. When you can say to that part, “Aww, baby. You’re ok. You’re human. Breathe.” you can arrive in yourself as the kind and loving and brilliant person you want to be.
At various times I get insecure, grumpy, ungrateful, selfish, shortsighted, judgmental….the list could go on. But I know you get that way too. Cuz we’re human. If you want to get rid of some of those qualities try praying to come back as a Labrador Retriever (though you’ll still risk having obsessions about tennis balls and boundary issues). But in this lifetime it’s about acceptance of our messy humanity.
Let the grown-ass self take care of the young, scared parts. Through this gentleness the fear or anger or insecurity can fade, and the young parts CAN heal–but never through bullying or force.
And just for the record: acceptance doesn’t mean we’re going to allow selfish or indulgent behavior. We can accept that we are feeling damn lazy and still love ourselves to the gym. We just don’t have to despair that we’re not jumping for joy to get into our yoga pants.
The more gentle, accepting, and loving we can be toward ourselves, the better able we are to spread it around. And MAN does the world need it.