Are you constantly criticizing yourself one way or another? Have you listened to that voice in your head so long that it is now your reality and truth? It may be hard for you today to envision changing your habitual negative self-talk, but it is one of the most important things you should do. It was a real turning point for me when I became aware of just how much I was judging myself. This may not be an issue for you, but odds are if you are under the age of thirty, maybe even forty, this preliminary inventory list should spark some thought.
Do you look in the mirror and see all of your flaws? Do you zone in on that one eyebrow that is higher than the other or that lonesome wrinkle between your eyes? You to tell yourself after you get dressed that you are fat? Do you say things like: I’m old, I’m ugly, I’m short, or I hate my …? Do you listen to the voice in your head criticizing you?
Or maybe you are happy with your image and that’s not the issue. It could be that you over-analyze and criticize everything you have done, after the matter. Not just in a reflective way to grow and improve, but in a judging way that inevitably destroys your self-esteem. Think about it. Do you answer a question and later rethink what you should have said instead? Do you cook a meal and find the one thing that is wrong with it? Do you leave meetings at work and criticize yourself for something that you did or didn’t do? Do you think that your words weren’t exactly right after your friend calls for encouragement? Do you tell yourself that you are a bad mother or wife just because your house or children aren’t perfect? Are you critical about everything you do because you should have done better?
Most of this self-criticism started when we were very young and needed validation from our parents, teachers, and peers; but it carried over from our childhood and primary school into our homes, our marriages, our children, and our careers. In my case I was so focused on being or appearing perfect and my expectations of myself were so high that I constantly beat myself up. This self-judgment was destroying my ability to move forward and in a struggle to be perfect it was preventing me from growing.
The thing is that no one is perfect, we are going to make mistakes, and we just need to be okay with that. We have to see ourselves the way God sees us, through loving eyes, not critical ones. We have to accept that those imperfect moments are part of our growth and journey to success. Remember that failure is a step in the process of success, it is not the opposite of success and our bodies won’t be PERFECT until we are in Heaven!
Eliminating self-judgment and criticism can be a really difficult habit to break, I know it was for me when I began working on this area in my life. Honestly, I still catch myself doing it from time to time, it is a work in progress, but it is absolutely worth it. If you need to eliminate self-judgment, give it to the Lord in prayer today, ask Him to change your thoughts and remove the negativity from your life.
Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3