The true cost of criticising ourselves
Writing a blog is an item on my to do list that I am supposed to do every week. But for the last few weeks, I haven’t felt like I’ve wanted to do it.
In the same space of time, my morning mindset practice, consisting of writing my gratitudes and consciously declaring and creating the person I want to be, has fallen by the wayside too. Mainly because I was finding it hard to find things to be grateful for, and finding it hard to connect to my declarations.
And a few days ago, I smoked a cigarette, despite being a non smoker and generally very health conscious.
Fortunately though, this weekend I learned something powerful about why exactly all of these behaviours were occurring, i.e., why I was not being creative or grateful, and why I wanted to do something harmful to myself.
So what was it? What was getting in the way? What was driving me to non productive and destructive behaviours?
I didn’t realise it, but I was harbouring negative judgements about myself, and this self judgement was blocking my access to creativity, inspiration, gratitude, power and love.
How do I know?
Because the moment I uncovered the self judgement that had been lurking in my subconscious mind, and decided to forgive it, all of those things returned. Hence me being able to write this blog now.
So what was the judgement?
Well, the judgement was to do with a man that I met last year and really liked, only for him to tell me he didn’t want a relationship.
Although we carried on seeing each other, the times we saw each other became less and less frequent to the point that I told him not to bother anymore, because he kept telling me he was ‘too busy’ or ‘too tired’.
Despite the fact that this happened a few months ago, I still haven’t been able to move on and forget about him.
I hadn’t got complete closure and I was in a state of just waiting for something to happen next.
Well, that ‘something’ happened this last weekend.
I bumped into him.
It was really awkward and it sent me sideways emotionally, so when I got home I called my best friend and coach to help me work through it.
We talked, and doing so was like shining a flashlight into the pitch-black corners of my mind.
You see, for most of my life I had a story that I was not secure or capable enough to be in a long term relationship with the kind of guy I would love to be with.
But over the last year I’ve been working on creating a new story about myself, and to some extent it was working: I was delighted when this man in question actually told me “you seem really secure”. It was a sure sign that my efforts in changing my story were paying off.
So, I was really confused then, when he started seeing me less often. I knew he really liked me, because he told me every time I saw him. As did his best friend, when I bumped into him at the gym. So why then he backing off?
Being a person who takes responsibility for all the results I create in my life, I asked myself how I was creating his behaviour, and I could see examples of how I’d not been acting as secure as I was saying I was. Or rather, I was perhaps just coming across too keen, in his eyes.
This lead me to blame myself for screwing things up with him.
My judgement was “I messed up”.
Which explains why I’d been considering messaging him asking if we could meet up - because I wanted to try to fix things with him, and just explain.
It also explains why until now I haven’t been able to move on: because I was judging myself.
And this blaming myself and judging myself caused a blockage in my emotional energy that affected every other area of my life.
It blocked my creativity. It blocked my gratitude. And it blocked my love, towards myself and others.
When I realised this, I was amazed.
Amazed by just how detrimental negative self judgements are.
And amazed by just how powerful self-awareness and self-forgiveness are.
Being aware of this judgement and forgiving it changed my entire experience of life: suddenly I was inspired to write 3 blogs (this being one of them); I felt grateful again for where my life was at and all that I’m creating; I felt the desire to get back to my morning mindset routine; and most importantly, I experienced loving thoughts again.
But what does forgiving oneself actually involve? How does one do it?
Well, literally, all I did was sit down with myself for just 10 minutes, and said:
“I forgive myself for judging myself as having messed things up….because…..”
And as a result of me asking myself ‘because’, my mind automatically started searching for reasons why I could forgive myself.
And what emerged was the idea that ‘there was nothing I could have done differently that would have changed the outcome’.
I remembered his best friend telling me that I’m not the first person that this guy has really liked and let go of, because of his huge resistance to being in a relationship.
And so, I saw that perhaps I wasn’t to blame. It was going to happen no matter what, not because of me, because of HIM.
Now, who knows whether or not this is actually true. But truth here is irrelevant.
What matters is what EFFECT me believing this (versus the previous story) has.
One of these judgements blocks creativity, gratitude, and love.
The other gives me access to it.
But what about if one genuinely has behaved in such a way that they are not proud of? How does one forgive oneself then?
Well that’s a whole other story, which I will talk about in my next blog.
For now, I want you to take home the message that criticising and blaming yourself for things you did or didn’t do, or things that have or haven’t happened is crippling you and all that you are capable of.
It’s probably blocking your creativity, just like it was mine.
It’s probably costing your gratefulness and joy in life.
It’s probably causing you to self-sabotage, like it did with me.
And it’s probably preventing you from experiencing love.
So be kind to yourself today.
Because what’s the point in NOT?