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The Vicious Critic

Monday, January 26, 2015
I'd like to apologize first because this post might be kind of a downer, but hey, I'm human and I have demons. I have filled this blog with posts ignited by personal experiences in hopes of inspiring people. I always aim to create an uplifting place because real life can be dreary and soulless. Most of my posts end with me encouraging people to stand up for what they desire, so full of optimism and hope. But I want this place to be honest, too. 

I have always struggled with self-expectations, always criticizing myself for every little thing, putting myself down when my achievements aren't as good as I think they should be. Nothing can ever be "good enough" because there's always a part of me that goes, "That's all you can do?" When I fail to be something, I think, "Why aren't you like this? Why aren't you like that?" Even if I keep telling myself that those things don't matter, that part of me always wins. I've become a master of finding reasons to dislike myself.

You might be wondering what triggered me to write this. Well, this day was just enough to wake up the vicious critic that's always sleeping inside me. But that doesn't matter since this isn't a rare thing, anyway.

I think I'm in a competition with myself. I am not bothered if someone achieves more than me, and I don't try to step over that person. The issue arises when I ask myself, "Why couldn't you do it?" and then I just come up with a truckload of insults after that. Because of all the hate I'm throwing at myself, I then curl inside the dark place of my head where I begin to think of myself as worthless and disappointing. I hate it when it gets to the point where I enter that shadowy place, because if I do, it will be so hard to shake those feelings of self-loathing away.

What makes things hard is that I don't believe myself when I say these things aren't that important. There's a less-enthusiastic voice in me that always interrupts and says, "Of course it's important." If I begin to tell myself that I can't do everything, the voice goes, "Why can't you?" Like I've said, it can push me to do more, but it usually ends up being destructive. It has become a fight with myself.

I try so hard to believe all of those cheesy quotes about not beating yourself up over the smallest things. I've felt this way for a very long time now and I just thought it was time to share this experience just in case someone out there was feeling the same way. (Please don't think I've been "fake" in my other posts, because the views I shared in them are true and hopeful. This post is merely about the struggle with having expectations which are too high.)

Have you felt this way? How do you cope with it? 
2 comments on "The Vicious Critic"
  1. You are definitely not alone in this. I wasn't much for competing with others as much as myself, either. Any time I achieved an accomplishment I always mulled over how I could have made it better instead of relishing in my tiny little moment of glory of actually achieving that goal. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently so unfortunately I have no tried and true method do get out of that habit. For me, once I became a mother and started evaluating things in my life that I wanted to teach my children, this habit was not one of them. Any time I noticed myself slipping into that mindset I verbally reminded myself that I was better than the negative thoughts and I would write down the next goal I wanted to accomplish to distract my brain from focusing on finding faults. It's a process but if you keep trying you will find something that helps you overcome the Negative Nancy's (that's what we call it at my house.) Wish you the best of luck!

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    1. Hi Ella. It's nice to know that someone understands how it feels. I think the only way to get over it is to remind yourself that you have limits, too, and in time, things will go back to normal. Thanks for sharing how you dealt with it! x Gail

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