The use of hypnosis may facilitate the undertaking of the guidelines listed in the following article. With the use of hypnotherapy, we learn techniques that help us to effectively connect with our inner mind, our subconscious mind. In this way we can come to challenge and reason with our inner critical voice. We can also learn techniques to help us mentally rehearse new desired thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
Your inner critical voice can lead you to undervalue yourself.
Have you ever heard the expression “I am my own worst enemy”? Surely you’ve heard it at least once in your life, and the fact is that it implies a deep reflection.
Some people live a life with serious shortcomings due to their own feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred. This causes them to have trouble relating to others and to be happy. But what are the causes of such feelings? To what extent do they alter our thoughts, emotions and habits? And, finally, how can we, from the field of psychology, help improve this perception in people who hate themselves so that it does not cause them that much discomfort?
What is the inner critical voice and why should silence her forever?
In a study published a few months ago, psychologists Lisa and Robert Firestone found evidence that the self-critical thought more prevalent among most people (regardless of their cultural, ethnic or religious background) was “I am different from others”. Most people see themselves as different from others, but not in a positive sense, quite the contrary, in a negative sense.
We all have an “anti-I” that hates our way of life
In fact, even individuals with a good social image who seem perfectly adapted and respected in their social environments have strong negative feelings and the feeling of showing a false face on themselves. This is because, according to some experts, our identity is dissociated.
Dr. Robert Firestone explains that each person has a “real”, a part of our personality which is based on self-acceptance, as well as an “anti-I”, a part of our consciousness that denies our way of being.
The critical voice or “anti-I”
The anti-I is responsible for boycotting us through that critical inner voice which, to a greater or lesser extent, we all have. This critical voice is like a kind of self alarm that makes negative comments about every moment of our lives, thus altering our behavior and self-esteem. It specializes in burying our dreams and goals: “Do you really think you can do … You can never achieve that goal, look, you’re not good enough!”. It is also responsible for despising your past and present achievements, “Yeah, well, you’re lucky, it was not your merit.” In addition, the anti-self is our expert boycotter when we enjoy a relationship: “She does not really want you. Why do you think he has so many friends in college? You should not trust her. “
Everyone has this critical voice inside, what happens is that some people pay a lot of attention to it, whilst others have learned to ignore it. On the first case, the main problem is that when you are very attentive to the critical voice, the criticism and blame it launches become harder and constant. Thus, instead of assuming that the voice represents an enemy that must be fought, we believe that it is a voice that comes from our “real” self and confuse criticism with the actual point of view, baldly accepting all what it tells us.
Why do I hate myself?
“I hate myself” is a recurring phrase that our critical inner voice can formulate. What origin has such kind of self-destructive thinking?
For psychologists Lisa and Robert Firestone, they are thoughts that are generated in the negative experiences of childhood and adolescence. The way we perceive ourselves in the various stages of childhood and puberty and judgments of others towards us is shaping our identity and, therefore, a better or worse self-concept.
How others perceive us decisively affects how we value ourselves
When we are subjected to negative attitudes on the part of our parents or people whom we hold in high esteem, we internalize these assessments and judgments to shape our own self image. It seems clear that if we receive positive attitudes from our parents (as praise or feeling loved and appreciated) this helps us develop a good self-esteem, critical attitudes can promote just the opposite effect. This phenomenon is perfectly explained by the “Pygmalion effect“.
In any case, it is not a question of blaming everything on parents. Raising a child is not easy, and our parents must also carry negative feelings of their own past; because no one is immune to transmit, even unconsciously, judgments or gestures that are not entirely appropriate, especially in times of stress.
A negativity that is passed from parents to children
If, for example, our parents made us see that we were naughty or told us constantly to keep quiet, or even if they simply felt overwhelmed if we were close by, we could end up accepting the idea that we are really a nuisance. One of the possible effects of this perception is that we could end up being shy and withdrawn, or take a submissive attitude in our daily lives and our relationships.
How does our critical voice disturb us in our daily lives?
Our “anti-I” can have an impact on our daily lives in many different ways. We can try to adapt to the critical voice trying to consider their criticism. When it says repeatedly that we are a disaster as people, we may choose to believe it and, under that premise, find friends and romantic partners who treat us the same way, as if we were worth nothing.
It is also possible that if it constantly tells us that we are inept, we may develop a total lack of self-esteem that pushes us to commit errors which ultimately make us look really stupid. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If it tells us all the time that we are very unattractive, we can end up declining the option of dating.
Between turning a deaf ear and managing the criticism
At the time we listen to our inner critical voice we confer it authority over our thinking and our actions. It is possible that we may begin to project this kind of critical thinking to the people around us. We are at a real risk that the hatred generated by the critical voice toward ourselves ends up colouring the glasses through which we view the world. At this point we may begin to suffer some symptoms of paranoid personality disorder, when we begin to question people who perceive us differently from our inner voice.
We can try to remain indifferent to praise and positive reviews, because they contradict the schemes that we have we built on our own person. We can even instill the idea that we are not sufficiently valid to have relationships. It is a critical voice that not only attacks us from the outside, but gradually is becoming the personality itself, attacking the foundations of personal wellbeing. Not only is there all the time but there comes a time when, for this very reason, we cease to perceive it, because it is already fully integrated into us.
How I can stop hating myself?
There are several tips that can help manage and try to minimize this self-hatred, getting live outside these limiting beliefs that our inner critic yelds.
Overcoming our critical voice, our anti-I, is the first step towards the liberation of the destructive thoughts, but this is not easy because many of these beliefs and attitudes are fully integrated in our being, we have internalized them.
1. Identify the critical voice
This process begins by detecting and starting to place the foundations to manage this critical voice. Once we have recognized the sources of these critical thoughts that affect us negatively, we must take account of what they may have of certain and false.
Sometimes, as we have said, this identification will mean that you will have to search within yourself to recognize the negative traits you have “inherited” from your parents during your childhood. If you had some very demanding parents, for example, you have the responsibility to challenge the demands you require from others, which you have inherited.
2. Rationalise and start being realistic
We must respond to our self critical attacks caused by this self-hatred by calmly but realistically developing a rational perspective about ourselves.
3. Challenge and relativize
Finally, we must be able to challenge the self-destructive attitudes that affect our self-esteem which the negative voice urges us to do. When we give up these defense mechanisms, which have been created in order to adapt to the pain we experienced in our childhood, we will try changing some behaviors that emerge from this circumstance.
For example, if when you were a child your parents overprotected you by watching you constantly, you may have developed a habit of seeking to isolate yourself from others for fear that they may interfere in your life.
4. Find your own identity
The last step to change the thinking, “I hate myself” to “I like myself” involves trying to find your own values, ideas and beliefs with which you feel comfortable and at peace. What is your idea of how to live your life? What are your objectives in the short, medium and long term?
As we become liberated from our inner critic, we are closer to finding ourselves. We can then begin to have attitudes and behaviours which are a much more accurate reflection of our needs and desires, which confer more meaning to our existence.
A path not without obstacles but worth following
During the path in which we try to stop hating ourselves in order to find what makes us happy, it is natural to experience some anxiety or resistance from the critical voice to abandon our recurring thoughts.
However, if one is persistent in challenging the internal critical voice, it will end up becoming gradually weaker and ultimately freeing us from the feeling of self-hatred. A crucial step towards a more pleasant and happy life.