“What if I beat myself up for not being enough yet?” This was the question from a participant in my recent “It’s My Year” Class.
“Every night, I review my day and I’m annoyed that I haven’t accomplished more. Then I start the shame game. I know it’s bad for me, yet I repeat the process the next day. How can I stop?”
Self-criticism is not unusual. We ALL have feelings of unworthiness at times. This comes from years of programming as children and absorbing beliefs from our culture. But when we go to bed with these feelings, they poison how we live, love, and lead.
We have outrageous standards for judging our worthiness, and the benchmark moves further away as we reach our goals. The life we live now, the one that was once a dream, is not enough AGAIN. This mind game makes it impossible to ever be satisfied.
Are you in the habit of judging yourself for not being or doing enough? The good news is that if you’re aware enough to know this, you can change. In fact, if you dig deeper to understand it. Maybe your inner critic unknowingly ‘helps’ you, serves you in some way.
For example, my class participant procrastinates on completing a slew of tasks she calls her “pile.” I asked her what she sees on the other side of it. If she completed the tasks, what would she do next?
Her answer: “Then I’d have to figure out what I really want, and that thought completely overwhelms me. So I keep myself busy with the pile.” She suddenly saw how, in a convoluted way, it worked for her to criticize herself nightly.
Once she realized this, she dug even deeper. Keeping the “pile” was painful because she’d never know the experience of living fully. Completing the “pile” would force her to uncover her desires and show up. That meant risking failure and rejection.
Both results scared her, but now she can consider other choices. You can’t solve a problem until you know what it is.
The next step, addressing her feelings of unworthiness, would be trickier. Real self-transformation occurs only when we experience an internal shift in perception. We will talk more about that next time. Meanwhile, you can use these five secrets to shift your perception of not being enough.
1. Put a flashlight on it. Ask yourself, “How does this situation work for me?” Casting light on our fears and feelings of unworthiness is a powerful way to destroy the tapes repeating in our mind.
2. Expose the inner critic. Give it a face and name. Mine looks like the Tasmanian Devil from an old kid’s cartoon. He jumps up and down for attention and tells me, “What you’re writing doesn’t matter.” “Nobody is interested.” “You can’t write.” I let him have his tantrum and move on to doing my best work. I don’t try to kill his commentary. I simply don’t internalize his words.
3. Accept where you are. Stop thinking you should be someplace else, because when you do, you bring your energy way down. In turn, you get more of what you don’t want. Stop fighting reality. It sounds contradictory, but by not fighting, you transfer that energy into creativity, innovation and change.
4. Stop the comparison game. Whether you compare your present to your past or yourself to others, it keeps you from influencing your Now. Both destroy happiness. Too often we romanticize the past and miss our current bounty. And in today’s world it’s easy to get caught up in social media, magazines, and other ways of comparing your life to others. This is energy you could use on improving your business, parenting, and life.
5. Choose your words. They create your reality. Instead of “I’m not enough because I haven’t done X yet,” change your daily reminder to “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.” When you are ready to go deeper, remind yourself “I’m amazing simply because I exist.” While the latter may seem a radical shift in self-talk, it works. Operate from the place that “I don’t have to do anything. I get to.”
Try these and let me know which tool worked best for you. I’d also love to hear what you’ve done to quiet your inner critic.
The world needs your gifts and talents. Let’s get off the sidelines and into the arena together. I’ll see you in the game.
Love and success,
P.S. Are we connected on Facebook? Let’s make sure we are.