If you are feeling insecure because of that pimple on your forehead and you refuse to go out in public for fear of what people will say, you need to smack yourself out of that delusion. Why? Because no one is going to see, care, or even think about it as much as you assume they will.
We all tend to judge ourselves harshly. Whether it is feeling guilty for eating that extra slice of pizza, or criticising ourselves for not being productive enough, we often hold ourselves to impossibly high standards.
But why do we do this? And what can we do to stop it?
The truth is that being overly critical of ourselves is quite normal. Because we tend to hold ourselves to high standards and compare ourselves to others, the negative effect of that leaves us feeling inadequate. Unrealistic expectations can also contribute to this self-judgment.
Comparing ourselves to others such as by viewing the edited highlight reels on social media can make us feel like we are not measuring up. Unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment when we inevitably fall short.
However, it is important to recognise that we are all human and flaws are a part of life. Choose to learn from mistakes and use them to grow rather than beating yourself up because that won’t change much but rather make the situation even worse.
How can we break this cycle of self-judgment?
One approach is to practice self-compassion by treating ourselves with the same kindness and understanding we would offer a friend in a difficult time.
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Negative self-talk should be challenged. We should consider whether we would speak to a friend the way we are speaking to ourselves and why we feel it is acceptable.
Rather than striving for perfection, we should aim for progress, celebrating small successes and using setbacks to learn and develop.
Practising gratitude can help shift your focus from what you do not have to what you do, and spending time with positive people can build us up while avoiding toxic relationships.
So the next time you are worried about feeling judged remember that everyone else is too busy worrying about what other people are thinking of them to overthink you too.