In this dynamic world where all of us constantly stay on the move, it has become far too easy for us to compare ourselves with others. It has become routine to continuously look and compare be it the more amount of money, clothes, likes, subscribers – all that matters is the increasing number. In this rat race, all we care about is getting more external validation even if it comes at the cost of a distressed internal environment.
In the age of social media, where you start comparing yourself to others from the moment you open your eyes in the morning before going to bed – not one moment passes by without constantly being battered by the voice of the inner self-critique.
It is true that that the inner self-critique is necessary for us to get through our lives so that we achieve our dreams and become happier successful beings, however, one must be cautious when it comes to listening to the overpowering inner voice if it engages in a continuous belittling, diminishing, or minimizing your efforts and achievements.
The voice in your head that leaves no stone unturned in putting yourself down needs to be trained to become gentle, softer, and kinder. The self-deprecating thoughts which constantly tell you that you are worthless and that you do not deserve any success are the victims of the injustices done to them by the powerful dominant structures.
To stop beating yourself up – you need to dismantle the structures that surround you. You need to question who benefits from your self-deprecating thoughts? (Mostly, the answer is white old men who are profiting off your insecurities, anxieties, and your preference of the ways of existing in the world).
Here is a mantra for you to say goodbye to those self-deprecating thoughts, every time you notice the belittling voice in your head, say: Capitalism sucks!
“Why do I beat myself up mentally?” – have you ever asked this question to yourself? Though the question sounds harsh, the intention behind asking it is usually growth and goal-oriented. What I mean to say is that when you beat yourself up – you are reacting to not being able to meet your expectations of how you’d perform at a task.
The intention behind remains the incessant trial and effort to become a better person, a person with more experience, with more success, more happiness, and more self-worth, right? All of us want to become improved and polished versions of ourselves. But, sometimes, we end up beating ourselves up, we end up not appreciating ourselves, we end up feeling helpless and hopeless.
In times like these, you certainly are made exposed to two choices – the choice to respond, and the choice to react. When you beat yourself up you are reacting to the situation of not being able to meet your expectations. But, when you choose to respond to the situation of not meeting the expectations you set for yourself, you take a step back, evaluate the situation and tell yourself that it is okay and you can always try again.
The difference between responding and reacting is so subtle that more often than not we fail to notice it. We are so unaware of our emotions, thoughts, and behavior that we don’t pause for a second to examine how we are choosing to respond to a situation.
If you want straightforward answers to the question of “how to stop belittling yourself?” Read ahead, gently.
Capitalism asks you to be constantly on the move, to walk, run, grind, hustle. It teaches you mantras used by successful entrepreneurs and tells you “you either go to sleep at 5 AM or wake up at 5 AM” – these are lies.
Lies that the system tells you so that you churn and grind yourself more, so that you become productive so that you create products for others to consume which will benefit capitalism. Capitalism asks you to hustle hard and asks you to buy bath bombs, scented candles, perfumes, and other things for self-care – thus, pulling you into the trap of consuming more. You become a machine whose controls are in the hands of capitalism.
To resist, you must rest. You must take a break. You must be gentle and kinder to yourself and you must ask yourself to slow down in your journey of becoming a better person. Know that, your intention is not to produce and consume mindlessly but to pause, create, and learn mindfully and gently.
To create pauses throughout your day, try using the strategy of mindfulness bells. Anything like drinking water, the notification on your phone, your mother calling you from the other room – any recurring event in your day can be your mindfulness bell during which you create a pause, you slow down, you take 3-5 breaths, you become aware of your surroundings and then slowly return to the task at hand.
Pause-Notice-Return. Use this strategy when you notice that you are beating yourself up.
On the internet, you will read many strategies from thought labeling, thought stopping, thought diffusion to practicing empathy, and accepting things the way they are – which all work perfectly and efficiently well when it comes to gaining back your self-worth and toning down the harsh sound of the inner critique.
In your journey of becoming more accepting of yourself, and not putting yourself down – you must invite yourself to take a stance of curiosity. On the days when you don’t meet your set targets, stay curious to see what comes up, what feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Just stay curious and observe, and for sometime when the inner critique keeps blabbering – listen to it, breathe deeply and allow yourself to be.
When you allow yourself to be, you make space for mistakes, errors, failures. As much space as there exists for achievements, fulfilments, and successes.
Rather than trying to silence the inner voice, listen to what it is saying, introduce it to Kindness and Acceptance. Practice inculcating patience and compassion for yourself – and you will soon notice how the language of the inner critique is changing for the better. Keep at it!