Everyone has insecurities.
What are yours?
Perhaps you are too short. Perhaps you think you are ugly. Perhaps you are awkward in social situations. Perhaps you think you are stupid.
Did you beat yourself up when a conversation didn’t go well? When you embarrassed yourself in front of a room of people? When you didn’t do well on that exam?
Have you told yourself things like:
“I don’t have talent.”
“I am not working hard enough.”
“I could’ve said that, I am so dumb.”
“I am wasting my time.”
“I am too short and ugly for anyone to like me.”
“I can never drop all this weight.”
“Why do I have to be who I am?”
You hear self-criticisms like these a lot in your head. I know I do.
I am a Chinese person. I moved to England when I was very young.
I lived in a very homogeneous place. I was often the only foreign kid on the streets.
I was skinny. I wasn’t tall. I couldn’t speak well. I was shy. I stuttered. I wasn’t exactly the most handsome boy.
I was very critical of myself. I was too insecure.
So I scolded myself.
I told myself there’s no way I could fit in. I didn’t belong. I wasn’t enough. So, I didn’t make any friends. It gave me social anxiety and made me an introvert.
You may think when you scold yourself like this, you are pushing yourself to improve.
But the problem never goes away, does it?
In fact, the more you criticize yourself, the more you become stressed, depressed, and powerless. This actually makes change less likely to happen.
Self-criticism is a mental prison. You can never be happy or successful unless you are free from it.
So what can you do about it?
4 Ways Guaranteed to Stop Self-Criticism (So You Can Reclaim Your Freedom and Happiness Right Now)
First, forget about change. Forget about doing better. You need to take care of your own mental wellbeing first.
Here are a few sure-fire ways to do so.
1. Give Up What You Can’t Control
We human beings are never perfect. You might have a lot of flaws, shortcomings and failures. So do I. Some you can overcome, but most you can never get rid of.
So first, identify what you can’t change.
Things like facial features, natural height, skin color or other physical traits are virtually unchangeable. Even if you managed to, you will have to face serious consequences.
Things like your thoughts and behaviors, unlike what most self-help gurus will have you believe, are very hard to change, too.
You form your personality by going through a series of experiences from a young age, and those experiences are now too deeply rooted to be replaced by some shallow mind-altering scientific technique.
I tried a lot of self-help stuff. Everything you’ve heard of, I probably tried. But not a single thing about me changed. In fact, they made me hate myself even more, because I wouldn’t change no matter how hard I try.
So don’t change things that are inherent to you. You will only give yourself unnecessary stress.
Instead, fully accept who you are. Give in to your fate.
If this sounds pessimistic, it’s not. Because at the same time, you should:
2. Work Around with What You’ve Got
Yes, you can’t change who you are, most of the time. But you can make the decision to “do what you can, with what you have, where you are”.
I don’t like the word “surrender”. Because surrendering sounds like you’re giving up.
Acceptance is not an excuse to give up.
Nothing is stopping your from improving yourself while being perfectly comfortable with who you are.
You can wear heels if you are short. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you are insecure about being short. You just want to look better. You can be just as confident without the heels.
You can work on your people skills, so you don’t embarrass yourself in the future. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you are uncomfortable about being an introvert. You can be just as happy looking nerdy in front of people.
You get the idea.
So don’t give up on improving yourself. Work hard. Study more. Pump more irons. Make yourself look better. Learn social skills. Whatever it is, get moving. But at the same time, be perfectly okay with what you already have.
But this sounds really paradoxical! If I strive for success and it doesn’t happen, I am bound to be frustrated and begin criticize myself, no?
Not really, because you should:
3. Forgive Yourself
I’ll admit, letting go is hard.
The media is feeding you perfectionist stories like teenage millionaire, overnight success stories and things like that day in and day out.
So you become a perfectionist (to be honest, we all are). You start to compare yourself with “the ideal”.
When something goes wrong, or if it doesn’t go perfectly, you go tense and beat yourself up. You criticize yourself for being not enough.
Truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all standard for everyone. You should have your own standard, one that fits realistically to your skill, natural talent, and your life.
It is hard to find this standard, because it is invisible.
Unlike video games, where everything is visualized, you have levels, ranks, and scores you can keep track of. You know you are not supposed to go to the last level when you just started playing. So you don’t stress yourself for not beating the boss within the first minute.
In real life, you have to figure this out on your own.
Whenever you fail and feel like criticizing yourself, think rationally. Forgive yourself for failing at things you are not good at or born for. Forgive yourself for circumstances you can’t control. Don’t beat yourself up.
Go and find a realistic standard for yourself based on who you are as a unique person. Don’t let others impose their standards on you.
4. Get Masochistic and Expose Your Flaws on Purpose
Again, full acceptance is hard. Even if you made up your mind to do so, you still feel some kind of resistance.
A trick to shock yourself into acceptance is to exaggerate your flaw for the world to see.
At the end of the day, you are insecure because you are afraid people will discover your flaws and look down on you, right?
When you stop hiding, you simultaneously tell your brain and the people around you that you are completely comfortable with yourself.
And then, two things will happen.
Firstly, your brain will free you from the never-ending cycle of self-blame.
Secondly, and surprisingly, people will like you more. People can sense you are comfortable under your own skin and you are being real with them. This earns their respect.
So how do you do this?
Just be honest. Mock yourself for being short, ugly and having bad skin.
Confess to people you still haven’t “made it”, instead of pretending to be doing well.
Tell your friends you are not great around people and ask them to forgive your awkwardness.
Again, this doesn’t mean you should get sloppy and lazy. Strive to improve, but be honest to yourself and to people at the same time.
Here’s What Will Happen When You Stop Criticizing Yourself
Now, picture yourself standing in front of the ocean.
The soothing wind is blowing. It smells good. The sun is warm. The sand under your feet is soft. The sound of waves is sweet music to your ears.
You feel calm, peaceful, and happy. You smile. Life is good.
Now imagine yourself feeling the same thing even when you failed the exam, bombed that presentation, or embarrassed yourself in some other way.
Pretty amazing, right?
This is what acceptance does to you.
When you accept yourself, you become free. No matter what happens, you stay calm, joyful and grounded in yourself.
You can still have goals. You can still live a fulfilling life with meaning and purpose.
And self-criticism? Gone.
The reason is simple: You don’t beat yourself up for no reason. You don’t stress over anything you can’t control. That’s why stress that comes with your ambitions doens’t bother you anymore.
So accept what you can’t change. Accept your flaws. Strive to be better, don’t get attached to good or bad, success or failure.
And self-criticism will vanish, and you will finally be free.
So, what do you say?
Do you want go back to your old ways, live every second in pain, and never getting anywhere?
Or do you want to be free and happy, even when you messed up, while fully enjoying your life and pursuing your dreams?
The answer should be obvious. Isn’t it? 😉
What To Do Next
Even if you have all the wisdom in the world, it will be useless if you don’t apply them.
We humans are habitual creatures. Most of the time, you operate on autopilot. This means even if you memorized all of what I wrote above, you will still fall back into your default behavior when the time comes.
Truth is, you can only apply the teachings when you are mindful and aware.
And how do you to learn to be mindful?
I have written a super-detailed and step-by-step guide on it. Even better, you can download it right now for free.
This free guide has more and better information than most of the meditation books on the market, including those that sell at a premium price.
Take a look at it, and you will know more about meditation than most people in no time.
Click here and download it for free. And you will be on your journey to wisdom and happiness.