Self Judgments Leave Me Hungry

December 19th, 2017 by Kelly Kienzle

Most of us can agree with the following statement:
“I am my harshest critic.”

We know this about ourselves and we know how much grief and suffering it brings us.  When we step back from a situation where we believe we were insufficient, we notice that we are judging ourselves far harsher than we would judge others.

But do we always notice how much inner damage that self-judgment is creating?

The Price of Harsh Self-Judgment
I realized the other day (during a coaching session with my coach, what a treat!) that harsh self-judgment did more than just make me feel generally crappy.  It also made me hungry, and not in a good way.  Here’s how it breaks down for me:

  • When I feel I have performed insufficiently in some way, I judge myself harshly for it.
  • I tell myself that this judgment is healthy because it is just me being honest about my performance.
  • Yet I am now in a deficit mindset about my abilities.
  • So I need assurance that I am still a generally good coach/friend/mom/fill-in-the-blank to bring me out of this deficit.
  • But I cannot access this assurance from myself because I have just cut myself down.

Leaning on Others
So I need to get that assurance from other people.  I have created an unfulfilled hunger for input and reassurance.  And so my supposedly healthy self-reflection on my performance has left me worse off and hungrier than before.

Though I certainly love to receive input from others, it is a pretty risk bet to wait on others to provide that reassurance of our skills.  How much better would it be if we could carry our confidence with us, unmarred by harsh self-judgment?

Becoming Self-Reliant
For me, I would no longer be hungry for reassurance for others.  I would be lean and self-reliant.

And we can carry that confidence if we don’t allow those harsh self-judgments to invade and deplete our confidence to begin with.  I can be that leaner and more self-reliant animal if I don’t create the need for reassurance in the first place.

Self-judgment is taxing me twice: making me feel bad about my abilities and leaving me hungry for (and reliant on) assurance from others.

So, when your next self-judgment shows up, notice whether it is helpful.  Then consider how much self-confidence it will syphon from you. What do you gain by being your harshest critic?  What do you lose?  Most importantly, how would your life be different if instead you were your biggest fan?

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