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How to Stop Self-Criticism

January 29, 2014 0 Comments

love yourself 2

For much of my life, I was extremely concerned about others opinions of me.  When I say “extremely concerned,” I mean I was guarded with what I said to avoid conflict, I was constantly worrying about how I came across to others, I hid anything that might be viewed as a flaw or weakness, I constantly compared myself to others, and I never felt like I was doing or achieving enough.  Have you ever felt this way?

As my focus returned to personal and spiritual growth, while overcoming depression and anxiety, I was forced to take a hard look at my thoughts.  I used to think my concerns about what others thought of me stemmed from past experiences of being criticized or judged.  But, I realized it actually had nothing to do with others opinions, and everything to do with how I viewed myself.

It was the thoughts that were flooding my mind with judgments about what I should or shouldn’t be doing, how I should be succeeding, what I should be achieving, what I should be wearing, how my hair should be styled, how my children should be behaving, etc.  I was my worst critic, and it was taking over my life.

So, all this time, I was worried about what others thought, not because of something they said or did in the past, but because I was concerned that what I perceived as my flaws would be revealed.  I was concerned that I would be seen as imperfect or that someone would realize that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing most of the time.  I was afraid someone would find out I was faking it until I made it.

I desperately wanted the approval of everyone around me – family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, teachers, etc. And, highest on the approval list was God.  I wanted to be accepted and loved by God.  I never felt like I measured up to the woman, mother, co-worker, and wife I thought I should be.

One day, I read something that stopped my serial self-criticism in its tracks:

“You are as God created you.” ~A Course in Miracles (Lesson 94)

That statement arrested me.  I could not move for a while as I, first, thought about all of the reasons this could not be true.  I mean, how could I be as God created me?  I am not loving to everyone, I get annoyed easily, I hold onto resentment, I am not always kind, I do not see the best in everyone.  The list went on and on.

Then, I kept repeating this idea in the first person.  I am as God created me…I am as God created me.  I kept reading the lesson, and it sunk deep into my soul.  I realized that it was not the personality-self that this was referring to.  It was referring to the Truth in me…the Christ in me…the Spirit within.  That is my Essence that has never changed since the moment of creation and will remain as God created It for eternity – beyond my life in this body.

When we remember ourselves as God created us, we will find peace and will love ourselves unconditionally.

There are a lot of tips out there about how to silence the inner critic.  They say things like:  don’t worry about the opinions of others, talk to yourself like you would talk to a child, be kind to yourself, stop comparing yourself, or be patient with yourself.  But, I have learned the hard way that none of them will work consistently until we recognize (or, remember) our True Identity.  As long as we think we are just another human being, and believe our sole identity is this personality that we are temporarily expressing via this body, we will not be at peace.  Until we remember we are the Spirit within, and so is everyone else, we will constantly be trying to fit in and/or outshine others instead of remembering we are One.  No one is better than or less than another, as we are all one in God.

We are all the Light, shining forth from the One who illuminates all that is.

For a moment, visualize a bright Light.  Imagine it is shining from above, and see rays of Light extending from this Light to all that surrounds you.  Rest with that image for as long as you desire.  That is what is occurring beyond what the physical eyes can perceive.  When we remember this, all comparisons and criticisms cease.  In this space, we are comforted in our Divine connection, and we can appreciate the many ways in which the Light expresses itself through us and those who surround us.  All worries about being enough or having enough cease in this space, as we remember we are whole and we have all that we could ever need in God.

This lesson in A Course in Miracles closes with the following exercise that I’d like to leave you with.

Today we will again devote the first five minutes of each waking hour to the attempt to feel the truth in you. Begin these times of searching with these words:

I am as God created me.
I am His Son eternally.

Now try to reach the Son of God in you. This is the Self that never sinned, nor made an image to replace reality. This is the Self that never left Its home in God to walk the world uncertainly. This is the Self that knows no fear, nor could conceive of loss or suffering or death.

Nothing is required of you to reach this goal except to lay all idols and self-images aside; go past the list of attributes, both good and bad, you have ascribed to yourself; and wait in silent expectancy for the truth. God has Himself promised that it will be revealed to all who ask for it. You are asking now. You cannot fail because He cannot fail.

I’d love to hear from you.  Have you struggled with the inner critic as well?  What has worked for you to silence that voice?   What comes up for you as you read the statement, “I am as God created me?”  I’ll see you in the comments!

Keep shining!

Kandace Jones
TWITTER: @coachkandace

About the Author:

I used to live life shackled by fear, doubt, and worry. I put on a happy face while navigating my day-to-day duties, but I was emotionally drained, stressed, and unhappy. When I hit rock bottom, and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I was determined to live life differently. I knew there had to be another way. Out of that determination, and guidance from Spirit, the "Living in the Light" blog was born. It documents my spiritual journey out of the darkness and into the Light. After nine months of publicly sharing my journey, and consciously releasing my attachment to the ego, I experienced a powerful spiritual awakening. I went from living in fear, doubt, worry, and stress to complete inner peace. My greatest passion has become assisting others on their own journey to inner peace. My spiritual memoir, From Stress to Peace: An Intimate Journal on the Journey from Living in Darkness to Living in the Light, is available now on Amazon and Click the tabs at the top of the page to learn more about the From Stress to Peace 21-Day Challenge, Living in the Light Retreats, 1:1 sessions, and the Living in the Light Community - all of which are designed to support your journey to inner peace. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog and look forward to supporting you in any way I can!