One of the things many of with addictions and mental health issues share is a pervasive tendency to judge ourselves. We criticize and shame ourselves harshly for our mistakes and our regrets. We judge ourselves for being addicts and for being depressed. We beat ourselves up for the things we do and the things we don’t do. How do we stop?
An important first step is becoming conscious moment to moment of how, when and why we are judging ourselves. What brings up this tendency to self-criticize? Perhaps seeing successful people and feeling competitive is what brings it out of us. Perhaps we are most judgmental of ourselves when we are dwelling on the past. The things that trigger us into self-judgment may be different for everyone. Whatever it might be for you, take time to recognize it and become more conscious of it. Oftentimes when we are most judgment of ourselves, we are doing so unconsciously and aren’t even aware of it.
Facing our difficult thoughts head on is a powerful part of the healing process. It can be difficult and can bring up all kinds of deep-rooted fears and trauma. This is where self-compassion, patience and empathy come in and are of the utmost importance to our healing. When we unearth and uncover our pain, we often beat ourselves up further. This only compounds our shame and fear, and only serves to bring us down even more. We feel even worse about ourselves. Start speaking to yourself with loving self-talk. Use words that are kind, comforting, soothing and nurturing. Try speaking and/or writing phrases to yourself such as “I love myself unconditionally. I am healing. I am growing.” As you repeat these, your self-talk will gradually become less harsh and self-punishing.
Choosing self-forgiveness is critical to learning to judge ourselves less. Forgiving ourselves for our mistakes and wrongdoings may feel impossible. We feel we don’t deserve forgiveness. Sometimes we feel we don’t even deserve to live. Practice feeling unconditional forgiveness for yourself. Try to see yourself as your higher power sees you. You are a beautiful, magnificent creation. You are here to learn, to grow and to heal. You were given unique challenges and hardships, but you were also given the strength and power to overcome them. Loving yourself enough to stop judging yourself so harshly is one of the best gifts you can give yourself along your healing journey.
We can all use support in learning to be kinder to ourselves. We’re here to help. Call Vista Taos at (575) 586-5078.