Do you like to be yelled at or scolded, talked down to or ridiculed?
No? Yeah, me neither.
But have you ever noticed that lots of times we’re the very instigators of these behaviors…and not so much to others, but to ourselves?
And the thing is, when we’re in the midst of dumping on ourselves, most likely we’d never talk that way toward a friend.
Asking myself that very question helped pull me up by the bootstraps at one point when I woke up to the fact that I relied more on self condemnation as a motivator than any other influence.
And then I woke up further: so do a lot of folks.
Subtle condemnings are no better than the louder ones.
But over time, yelling at ourselves or consenting to accusations on any level is a gross form of self abuse.
Here’s the thing: we don’t have to stay there, in that victimizer, condemner role.
And I say role because that’s what it is: a role.
We can choose to redirect our thoughts.
We can choose to stop bashing ourselves.
We can choose to stop ridiculing ourselves and condemning the very way we breathe.
But it takes a willingness to stand up in thought and realize that the condemner voice is not our innate, natural inclination.
And it takes realizing that we have to get in there and shut up and out that condemner voice.
And if you’re reading this going “not possible. that’s the voice I live by, that’s the voice that’s always in my thoughts” then I’d nudge you to think otherwise.
Our most natural inclinations respond to good, to innocence, to strength, and to love.
Lots of things add to condemning ourselves, from the perfectionist competitve culture we grow up amidst to our own upbringing to the influences raising us, should they constantly view our actions as reflections of their own.
But none of us have to stay a victim or a sponge to these derogatory influences of thought.
So the question isn’t so much “can I” but “how can I” stop beating myself up.
The key lies in forbidding entry to condemning suggestions of any kind.
That may sound odd.
That may sound ridiculous.
However it sounds, no matter.
We are each steering our mental ship, we are each sculptors of thought.
We are each responding to the currents of truth that govern the universe.
And in that responding, we can choose to stop listening and responding to the derogatory influences making that journey chaotic and difficult.
It demands concerted effort.
It invites constancy and love, for ourselves, talk about a marriage of the most invaluable kind :).
And it insists on deep, unswerving commitment to keep forging ahead even when we mess up.
But we are each worth it.
So where can we start ridding our tendencies to respond to condemning influences and then root them out for good?
By grounding ourselves in an awareness that our inherent tendencies are toward childlikeness, tenderness, spontaneous joy, unbounded wonder….to anything and everything that is about love.
And we can recognize that any pull toward subtle or blatant derogatory influences is stoppable.
By refusing to give our consent.
By refusing to accept, listen to, or respond in any way to the implications of those subtle, derogatory influences.
Then at any moment we feel ourselves leaning toward responding to evil influences, we can do it again: we can get into thought and redirect it, just as we’d would steer a toddler away from crawling toward an unsafe situation or area.
Sometimes this redirecting takes the form of advocating for ourselves: “No, I”m not going to listen to this condemnings. I don’t care what it’s saying: that I”m an idiot, that I will never do x, y, z so why bother, that I’m incapable, stupid to even try.”
Sometimes it takes sitting still and meditating or stilling thought several times a day or even day after day after day.
But the thing is, once we begin to redirect thoughts, even to just refuse the message that’s being imposed, it lessens the stronghold and absolutely impacts our choices.
Here’s what I do.
1. Stand still. I become extremely aware at any moment what thoughts are mulling around in my consciousness.
2. Examine thought. I become alert to whatever is a derogatory influence. (Often it comes in the form of self criticism saying things like
‘You’re an idiot.
You’re an f-up.
You shouldn’t even bother.
What’s the point.”
Okay, you get the gist. This isn’t always the form it takes but it often comes in the form of some kind of shaming, bashing, accusational suggestion.
3. Arrest condemnings:
Once I detect derogatory influences in my thinking, I arrest these thoughts.
I stand firm and refute them. Sometimes it’s a blatant denial. Sometimes simply a no. But often it sounds something like:
“No, whatever you’re trying to dump in my thought and accuse me of is not true. I’m not an idiot. I’m not a failure. I’m not a complete f-up. I’m not hopeless or helpless.”
4. Adovocate for myself.
Once I arrest the condemnings, I advocate for myself.
This may sound something like this:
“I know at this moment I can only respond to the inclinations of that which governs the universe and sustains reality. And I know this moment that I am whole, pure, innocent, free, and a complete expression of good. So there’s nothing in my thought that can be duped or distracted or imposed upon. And there’s nothing in my thought that can agree with any condemnings.”
5. Repeat steps 1-4.
Sometimes its a simple process, sometimes it takes concerted effort all day or for several days.
But no matter what, rooting out the influences that condemn is worth every ounce of our investment.
To the degree I’ve shut out the derogatory influences of thought, to that degree, I’ve been able to hear other inclinations that nudge me in ways that feed my yearnings and let me live my natural tendencies.
And it’s made all the difference in learning how to love myself, cherish my natural inclinations, and live them consciously and assuredly.
But I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been an overnight quick fix by any means. More like a step by step devotion over the span of several years.
But it’s made all the difference.
And I’m certain it will for you as well.
As always, so grateful you’re here.
Would deeply value your thoughts and hearing what helps about these ideas or what works for you to root out self condemnation.
Be in touch if you want some help healing self abuse and finding the inherent freedom you deserve to live day in and day out.
Thanks for being here and looking forward to hearing from you.
Here’s to our thought journeys:)
I love your pragmatic approach, and your recognition that this can be a long journey. I took me well over a year of constant effort to overcome self-condemnation initially. I still fall back into it, especially when my wife seems determined to punish me. This is a dilemma because I can’t completely disregard her. She is a perfectionist who refuses to be bound by human limitations. Time would fail me to describe the complexities involved.
Aww you’re welcome:) So glad it was helpful
thanks a lot
hope you’re feeling ‘lighter’…thanks so much for visiting the blog. 🙂
funny, just came across this at a point when the “self condemnation” is hardening like cement. Back against wall, irrefutable evidence mounting and options being reduced to shame, humiliation, doubt, inaction, apathy, sleep, sloth, indecision…and worse. This morning went for walk in woods at dawn in the rain, thought of the times that I and others have climbed out of this pit (more like a spiraling dive to oblivion) and am here at 8AM with a plan to to get something done today. I still have resources but if I’m convinced that I’m beat, I’m beat. The trick is, to take steps, take action. Sometimes that action may be to meditate but though death may be inevitable, defeat is not.