How to stop judging myself
How I did it: Part of overcoming depression, meant
resolving a host of other issues that plagued my life, from emotional
and mental, to the physical and psychological. I couldn't come out of
depression and still pass judgment on myself for every little thing I
would or wouldn't do. Of all the things I had to learn to overcome
this hardship, the most important was learning to be okay with the
fact that I was not perfect. Which also played a crucial role in
becoming less arrogant.
For me, the problem of judging myself
came about right around the time when the depression started to sink
in. I was always very hard on myself to begin with. When I would make
mistake I would drive myself into the ground until I fixed the issue.
I don't allow myself to make excuses, even if they are legitimate,
and I use to find myself second guessing everything I did, and the
events after my brother's death, didn't make it any better. Seemingly
overnight, I went from arrogant and over-confident, to uncertain and
indecisive. I started questioning everything I thought I knew,
everything I had done and was doing. I even questioned my own
This mental chastising went on for
months, to the point I was consumed by it. I couldn't go an hour, let
alone a full day, without wringing my own neck about something. I had
all but beaten myself into the ground, and then one day I decided I
was going to get better.
I started by making a list of the
things I was good at that particular day. I wouldn't allow myself to
focus on the things I could have done better, only those I was good
at. The things during the day I executed the best. I did this for
about 2 weeks, then I began adding one thing I could have done
better. The idea was to get me to focus more on the positive
experiences of my day, than the negative. I would have to start
reverse engineering my thinking to be more forward and not
regressive. To be more positive and optimistic, than pessimistic and
negative. I had to re-learn what it meant to appreciate myself, to
love myself and respect myself. I had to start giving a damn about
me. Not in a selfish sense, but I had to re-learn that it's okay to
make mistakes, to be imperfect, to have faults. These things don't
define me. How I view myself is what defines me. How I carry myself
is what defines me. My character defines, not the mistakes I've made.
Not the opportunities I've missed, and certainly not the things I've
attributed to being my own fault, when in reality, I never had any
control of these outcomes to begin with. I shouldered too much
responsibility for things I was not accountable for.
I had to learn to accept that yes,
there were times I was going to fail. Yes, there would be
disappointment down the road. And no, not all of it is your fault,
nor could it have been prevented. I had to learn to stand up for
myself, in defense of myself.
I had to re-learn what it meant to be
happy, and that happiness is not a "reward" for never
having made a mistake. Happiness is what comes from having lived.
From actually living. Judging and punishing self for the things I've
done wrong (and the things I've felt I've done wrong) is not living.
It was merely existing. Being present. When I took the steps to
reclaim my happiness, I judged myself less, and appreciated myself
more. I went from calling myself a fuck-up to believing that tomorrow
would hold more promise for a brighter outcome.
Happiness and love are the keys to this
Lessons & tips: Find something to put your faith in. If
you don't believe in God or are against religion, fine. Put your
faith in knowing that life will reward you for having tried your
best. You have to believe that the days ahead are brighter than your
yesterdays. But most importantly, the best way to stop being so
self-judgmental is to start loving yourself.
Always love and respect yourself.
Appreciate who you are and all that you do, and never allow yourself
to believe, or do, any differently. You're not perfect. You never
will be. But because you're not perfect, doesn't mean you're any less
of a person than anyone else. Always love yourself, even in your
darkest moments, love yourself, and under no circumstance ever allow
yourself to think, even for a millisecond that you're not good
enough. Because you are.
Resources: Keeping a journal is what really helped
me through this. I wrote often about the things that made me happy,
about the the things that I knew I was good at. These journals became
a very integral part of me healing process.
If you're not much of a writer, try
reciting the words aloud. Look yourself in the mirror and verbally
say to yourself what it is you're good at, capable of, and strong
enough to handle.
You can read self-help books, attend
motivational speeches and lectures if you like, but the thing that's
really going to make a difference is whether or not you start to
believe it. That's the trick. There is a plethora of resources out
there on self-improvement and self-healing, but none of it will do
you any good, until you start BELIEVING IN YOURSELF and LOVING
YOURSELF! That's the trick, and you can start by acknowledging what
it is you're good at, where your strengths lie, and then everyday
working towards things that build your character and uplift you. The
more positivity you inject into your life, the easier this goal
becomes to achieve.