Tag Archives: self criticism

Why do we look for approval?

It is human nature to want to feel loved and secure. Feeling that way occurs when you have a strong sense of belonging – to your family, your tribe, your community, your social supports, friends, etc.

You feel safe and secure when you sense that you belong and are accepted by those around you. When you feel you don’t belong, when you feel excluded or in danger of being excluded, you feel terrified of dying, of being left alone to fend for yourself. This terror relates to tribal days when you did need to band together for survival, to hunt the wild animals that could attack anyone left on their own.

In today’s world it is not so dangerous to be on your own, but loneliness, the sense of isolation, rejection, of not being enough – all erodes your happiness and eventually your health. Studies have shown that those who are lonely and isolated suffer higher rates of chronic illness and shorter lifespans. It is almost like the will to live reduces, because it is so painful to live in isolation and darkness that comes when your thoughts are negative and self-loathing.

It is hard to love and accept yourself when you feel rejected by others. The issue may not be about you. It may be something specific to the group rejecting you, but it still feels bad to be rejected. This is why people will do bad things in a group. They will be immoral and do devilish things that they would not do on their own. They go along with the crowd, they don’t stand up and say “No, I don’t want to hurt that person or break that law. It is immoral and I won’t do it”.

It takes great strength to stand up in such a situation and say no. It risks being ostracised, losing your standing in the group, being rejected and hated. Few people have the courage to do so. Many go along with the crowd and silently regret it for the rest of their lives. This feeds self-disgust and loathing.

Sometimes this gets high enough that a person will leave the group on their own choice, as to stay feels unconscionable. But few people make that choice. Most stay and self-medicate through addiction to numb the painful thoughts and feelings. Others will project the self-hatred out onto their enemy, their chosen other, and this further fuels the conflict occurring.

All of this occurs because each person wants to feel that they belong, that they are accepted, and that they are an acceptable human being. Many of us doubt our worthiness, our goodness, we feel not enough. This comes from childhood conditioning, when our parents weren’t able to be there for us all the time we needed them, and occasionally they looked at us with frustration and tiredness. They gave us looks of desperation and we sensed that they wished we didn’t exist or that we were different to how we were.

This was just their tiredness and stress. It wasn’t really about us. It was about them and their circumstances, but we take those messages to heart and feel that we are somehow unacceptable.

No parent means to do that to their child. They love you and want what is best for you, but they did not have the energy reserves or capability to be always loving and positive in their interactions with us. No one could. It is very demanding being a parent. There are no times off. No vacations from the responsibility for that child and its life.

Most parents do their best to meet the child’s needs. Some do not. Some in their exhaustion and pain will blame the child for their adult problems. Some may even say it to their child, saying “If it wasn’t for you I could have….. If it wasn’t for you I would have….You ruined my life, etc, etc”. Some parents can be very cruel even saying that they wish the child had not been born.

All of this negativity gets taken to heart by the child, who then has such inner turmoil and emotional pain that they may rebel, turn away from the parents and look for love and belonging elsewhere. This is what leads to gang membership. The person finds a group where they are accepted and approved of. They will do whatever they need to, in order to join and stay apart of their new family.

Thankfully most of us just join a sporting club or community activity or friends group where we feel held and safe and accepted.

All of us try to find somewhere, where we will be accepted and gain a sense of approval, a feeling that we are good enough, we do belong, and we are okay.

Some will try desperately to please their parents, bending over backwards doing whatever they ask, in a desperate plea for acceptance and belonging. Some parents will give that to their children and some will continue to manipulate the child well into adulthood in order to get what they want.

All of this could be avoided or reduced if there was more support for parents when they have their children. If parents with newborns were more supported, whether that be by family, friends, community or government services, it would make it easier for them to be more positive in their interactions with their children.

Most parents unfortunately are exhausted, over tired, fatigued and living on adrenaline, coffee or sugar to get by. It is not a healthy way to be, and it is inevitable that problems will occur. It is hard enough coping with children as a couple. It is even harder as a single parent.

Parents need support so that they can enjoy their time with their children more, so that they can have a more balanced life, with time for them to relax, do a hobby, and have some fun. Without this balance the parents will be in deficit and the kids will feel that and absorb it, feeling like there is something wrong with them, when there isn’t.

The above patterning is the reason for so many people desperately seeking approval. There are solutions at the societal level as discussed, but there are also solutions at the individual level.

We need to recognise any self-lacking thoughts and change them to more positive, self-affirming thoughts. We need to feel our emotional pain from past interactions and be loving and supportive of our self.

Doing inner child work is powerful, reclaiming those younger parts of us that split off, that hid or became tough to survive. We need to welcome those younger selves back into our hearts, give them the love that they missed out on, and welcome them home to our hearts, to know that they are okay and they belong with us.

When we integrate these disowned parts within us, we will no longer feel rejected by the world so much. We can do inner visualisations and Family Constellations with our parents to heal that split and to connect in with their hearts, their goodness, and their love for us.

There are many ways to do this, so that we feel more complete, more accepted and have a stronger sense of belonging, knowing we are okay, we are enough and all is okay as it is.

When we can heal our pain from our pasts and come to a place of self-acceptance and acceptance of our life how it was, is, and will be, then and only then will we drop the need for approval, as we know that we are okay.

Approval then becomes something that is nice, but not needed. We can be our authentic, creative self, showing our heart’s true desires to the world, following our heart’s longings without fear of ridicule or rejection, knowing that if it does occur it won’t cripple us, as we know we are okay.

Criticism can then be seen as another person’s opinion, which is about them, it is not about us. Any barbed spears they throw simply bounce off as there is no wound for them to land in.

When we love and accept our self, we go forth into the world and shine our light confidently, lovingly and securely, knowing we are good enough and all beings are. This is what we hope for all beings, to reach this place of love and acceptance, of self-approval. When that manifests we will have a much more peaceful time on Earth. Blessed BE, Amen.

By Jodi-Anne (24 July 2018).

  • Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.
  • If you found this blog useful you may wish to consider purchasing a copy of Jodi-Anne’s book ‘Advice from a higher Source’ which contains 85 more answers to questions about life. The paperback book or ebook can be purchased online at – http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/JMS2011. (Once you have clicked into view the description of the book, go to the top of the page and choose the flag symbol for your country, this will show you the price in your currency and enable you to purchase it in that currency)
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How to accept divine timing and your growth rate?

It is not up to you how fast growth occurs. It takes a lifetime to achieve the growth your soul has come to experience. Events will occur to create the shifts needed, for awareness to dawn and self love to occur. This will all happen at the destined time. You can not influence it. You think you can by going to that workshop, doing that healing, but we tell you it still occurs as needed. It is your soul guiding you forth. It is your soul giving you the urge to do the workshop or healing. It is all occurring as it needs to.

Let go of the judgement, the impatience and flow with the process, accept what comes and what goes. It is not up to you. People will come and go out of your life, behave in certain ways to trigger you. Everything that is needed for your growth will come, because it has to for you to evolve as needed this lifetime.

You can’t get it wrong or miss an important event or person. It will all occur as it needs to. You just judge it with your mind, assuming you should be doing more or be more advanced by now. There is no more advanced, there is no better than or worse than, don’t compare your self to others. Don’t assume how you should be is anything other than how you already are.

You humans make it so hard for yourselves. You are determined to see yourselves as not good enough, but this is just your thoughts, just your conditioning. Change it, so you are accepting of yourself, so you know you are exactly where and how you need to be right now, so you can be kind and loving to yourself. That is what is needed so you can enjoy the process more, so you can enjoy the journey.

You wil get where you need to be regardless, but you affect your experience of it with your thoughts. You create suffering and angst with your thoughts and judgements. Accept what is and flourish. Deny it and struggle. Rally against it and feel helpless, depressed or worse suicidal. Accept what is, knowing it will pass, that it is just a phase of growth and you will have peace. Accept yourself and your journey and you will have joy. Accept those around you and trust they are guided forth in their process, that they are all doing exactly what is needed for their evolution and growth, then you will have love overflowing in your life – from you to others and from others to you. Accept what is and have peace.

Foster greater acceptance and trust, faith that it will all work out okay and you will have excitement, anticipation and positive feelings of the future. The choice is yours create negative feelings with your thoughts or positive ones. The same outcomes will occur, just your experience of it, your sense of joy or suffering will differ. Which will you choose? It is entirely up to you. Blessed BE , Amen.

By Jodi-Anne M Smith (21 April 2017).
Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.

How to stop making yourself wrong?

If you were abused as a child, you were constantly told or shown that whatever you did was not good enough, not acceptable, basicaly wrong.

Even though the issue was really the emotional state of the parent / abuser, to you as the child, it would have seemed that you were the problem, that there was a fault, a flaw, an imperfection with you. You probably beat yourself up a lot, trying to work it out, “What exactly is it that is wrong with me?”.

An abuser is likely to have told you off for what you said, how you stood and looked at them, for being defiant or a smart ass, for talking back, and sometimes for simply breathing and being alive. In essence it felt like everything about you was wrong or not good enough, not acceptable or okay.

should-have-done1This sets up a pattern of self-loathing, even if you believe the abuser is full of shit, making it up, f*cked up. Even if you do place the blame on them, part of you still wonders “Am I to blame? Is something i’m doing provoking them? How can I change who I am to be less offensive?”

You certainly change who you are by watching carefully all that occurs, trying to make sense of a situation that does not make sense. You lose your innocence, your spontaneity and start becoming the watcher, the cautious one, the guarded and over protective one. In essence, you lose access to your soft, vulnerable, innocent self, your authentic self, as all these defense mechanisms kick in to protect you.

As a part of keeping yourself safe you will have developed a very strong inner Judge and Critic, who keep watch and tell you when you are doing something wrong. They become very strict monitoring your every move and they work with the inner Controller and Pusher to modify your behaviour and control your every move.

When this team of sub-personalities take over life can be very bleak. They push you to do what they think will protect you best. They watch you and criticise you first, before any one else gets a chance to, because then they can force you to modify your behaviour to be less susceptible to getting told off or abused from others. However, you are now being abused from within. There is no kindness, no rest, no fun, when this is the team controlling your ship. If these have become your dominant sub-personalities or primary selves, life becomes very painful indeed.

This inner team of voices hounds you, day in, day out, telling you what you could do better, how you should have behaved, or what you should have said. What you did do or say is never enough. It could always be better. This team thinks they are helping you avoid confrontation. They are in essence trying to help, but it is a painful process.

The habit of feeling wrong, bad, not good enough, can become so strong that you come to think of yourself as a bad person, an unworthy human being who doesn’t deserve to be alive. It is very cruel and unnecessary.

Once you are an adult and no longer in your abusive childhood home, you don’t need this barage of judgement, criticism and control to continue, but it does until you learn how to switch it off. You do so by becoming aware of the patterns, listening for those inner voices and urges, and simply chosing to ignore them.

When the Judge comes in and says “That wasn’t good enough”, you can simply reply “I know I could have done better, but it was good enough”. When the Critic comes in and says “You are terrible, you should have …….”, you can simply say “I am no longer willing to put myself down. I am not listening to you”. As its voice ramps up, you can say “Look, I know you think you are helping me, but you are not. What I need now is for you to have a rest, a holiday, to go away and let me live in peace. I can handle it now. You have done a good job in the past. When I was in danger, you did keep me safe. But I am not in danger now and I need you to turn down the volume, so I can focuson enjoying life more and have more fun, friendships, inner peace and joy in my life. The war is over! You helped me survive it. But now it is a time of peace and you deserve to rest, to go on holiday, and to let other aspects of me come to the fore, to guide me in this phase of my life. Thank you for all that you have done, but it is time for a change of guard, a change to who is the dominant sub-personalities operating in my life. Please step back and let this change occur.”

When you can do this, have these inner conversations with those parts of yourself, they will listen. They will watch and test whether you mean it. They will observe whether or not you really are safe without their feedback and constant response. If they can see you truly are okay, then they will back off. It is not all of you beating yourself up. It is just these parts of you and they were doing it, trying to help you.

Likewise, the Pusher was trying to get you to do certain things to keep you safe, or to achieve certain things because then you might finally get the recognition you deserve, or break free from dependency on others through a successful career, finanical independence.  These parts of you were helping in the only way they knew how. They didn’t realise it harmed you or caused you pain. They simply didn’t notice that or felt it was a minor, acceptable outcome, for a higher good. Their focus was on the goal of keeping you safe, avoiding  abuse, and therefore safe and isolated from other people, from your heart and the pain within it, and from all the softness of life. This was their job to keep you safe. They have worked hard, thank them and let them know the war is over. You have won, largely due to them.

Many of us have been free of our abusive childhood homes fro decades, yet we still act as if we are there, constantly looking out for danger, reacting in fight or flight and being wary of all tha occurs around us. It is a painful way to be. We have to learn how to turn these defense mechanisms off, so we can finally relax and enjoy life. Talking to your sub-personalities, thanking them for how they have helped you and explaining what your new goals are and ways they could help you now, is a big part of this change.

Instead of telling you off all the time, the Critic can be asked to monitor when your body is getting tired and to let you know to rest. It can be asked to gently let you know when you are being too serious and you need to lighten up and have some fun. You give them a new job description, so to speak, so they can still serve you, but in ways tha help you to achieve today’s goals.

You can ask the Pusher to help motivate you to exercise and eat well or to connect with others, instead of isolating yourself. You can ask the Judge to remind you when you are being unkind to yourself or others, or to alert you when there is an opportunity that would be beneficial to accept.

positive inner helperYou ask this inner team to become your greatest supporters, to show their love for you, by helping you achieve today’s goals. The past is the past. You don’t need to live there any more. Time to upgrade your inner workings to reflect life now, and life now can be full of love, joy and connection, so be it. Amen.

(For more on sub-personality theory, see Hal and Sidra Stone’s Voice Dialogue).

By Jodi-Anne (24 April 2016).
Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.

How to heal from emotional abuse?

Free-BirdEmotional abuse is just as devastating as physical or sexual abuse. It damages the psyche and deeply affects a person’s self worth and feeling of safety. It leaves individuals afraid to interact with others and sets up a condemning pattern inside, where they repeat the abuse to themselves, by calling themselves less than loving names and treating themself in less than loving ways.

While devastating at any age, emotional abuse while a young child (0-6 years) of age is most damaging, as this is when children simply believe and absorb anything they are told. It goes straight into their subconscious programming and they are conditioned to act it out their whole life, unless they learn how to change their subconscious beliefs.

Such negative conditioning can have devastating affects throughout their life. If they are told they are ugly, unwanted, not needed, not liked, a failure, hopeless, that the problems others are facing is their fault, etc, then they will believe it and subconsciously they will play it out in their life – at school, at work, in relationships.

When things are going well the conditioning will cause them to act out and self sabotage. If on the brink of success, and the conditioning is that they are a failure, they will find it very uncomfortable to succeed. They will most likely fail shortly thereafter, if not before.

So they may get the promotion, but then find they can’t cope with the job or do something to cause themselves to be demoted – be late continuously, get sick, make a critical mistake or simply leave the job as they don’t enjoy it. This form of self sabotage happens unconsciously and repeatedly until it is changed.

If a child watched one parent being abused emotionally by the other, then the child learns that is how relationships are. They will accept poor treatment from others as they don’t realise that they deserve better or that there can be loving, safe interactions between people.

Worse, the parent who is constantly belittled is likely to withdraw from the child. They are likely to sink into depression, if not addiction, as a way to cope with their unhappy situation. The child therefore becomes neglected as well as suffering from witnessing and receiving the emotional abuse.

If the parent sinks far enough into depression and doesn’t have the strength to stand up for themselves or leave the relationship, then this destructive pattern can continue for years and usually does. A child in such a situation gives up hope. They may have tried really hard to be a good boy or girl, in an attempt to make things better. They may have tried helping out around the house to make life easier for the parent, and in an attempt to reduce the catalysts for fights. The child tries to be the peace keeper.

When that doesn’t work, they may try to rescue the parent, to help motivate them to leave or by standing up to the abusive one. But of course the child is a child acting like an adult, and the actual adult is stronger, more powerful, and can be vicious. The child is dependent on the abuser for their home, food and other necessities. It is a no win situation.

And in this situation the child has lost the ability to be a child and enjoy their childhood. their thoughts are not about their friends, toys, school, sport, playing games or having fun. Their thoughts are about survival and staying alive. Worse about keeping the depressed parent alive, if they have attempted suicide as a way to escape the abuse. The child becomes numb, simply going through the motions, withdrawn in a shell of self protection. Their life is a series of painful events, marked by even more painful events when the emotional abuser turns the focus on them, and lets rip with a torrent of cruel and mean statements about the child.

As the child grows they may come to hate the abusive parent, they may wishe they would die and even fantasise about hurting or killing the parent. This is just an attempt to gain back the power they have lost, to feel stronger, more independent, not so crushed. Few would actually act out such a fantasy.

Emotional abuse is just as devastating to a child as other forms of abuse. It sets up similar fear patterns, mistrust patterns and self loathing patterns. This damage will take years to heal. It will take many decades for the person to become fully aware of their conditioning, to feel and release the emotional pain, and balance backup to a state of self love.

They will have to learn to monitor and change their thoughts to more loving and supportive ones. They will need to change their subconscious beliefs, so that they do believe they are worthy of love, they are a worthwhile human being and they are deserving of good things.

It will take a lot of time to learn to be kind and loving to themselves. This softness will not be natural as they have grown up in harshness. So it will take time before softness feels safe and acceptable. Keep practicing until it does.

healthy-relationships-300x203Harder still will be the ability to trust others. Mistrust will be so deep. Self protection and isolation so automatic, that it will take a lot of concerted effort to break free of it and be able to let people truly close and truly know them.

It will take a long time for the person to actually know themself – what they like to do, their interests and what is fun for them. At first this is such a foreign concept, as life has been about struggle, survival and avoiding further abuse. It hasn’t been about having fun or doing what they like. So they have to learn how to have fun, how to do a hobby and relax and enjoy it.

Their bodies are often armoured, hard with locked up muscles from keeping all the pain inside. The softness is buried beneath the armour and much work needs to be done to help the body relax and come out of its permanent state of fight, flight or freeze. The body is also likely to be exhausted from the constant stress, trauma, and lack of exercise, good food, etc. When locked in fear the breath often shallows, so the body does not get as much oxygen, it can’t digest and absorb the nutrients as well, and the adrenals get over worked and depleted, resulting in fatigue. Good diet, exercise, emotional release work and body work to help dissolve the armour and trauma all help.

There is much that can be done to heal from childhood emotional abuse, but it takes a lot of time and effort. If you are going through this process, be as kind to yourself as you can, understand that you are undoing a lifetime of conditioning and it will take time. Every step you take is helping. Every day it wil get a little bit better. If you feel discouraged seek help, join a support group, see a counselor, or start a fun activity to help balance up. Love yourself and your life will improve. It takes time, but it is well worth doing. Good luck, I know how hard the journey is. I also know it can be done. Blessed BE, Amen.

By Jodi-Anne (02 April 2016).
Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.

Creating self-forgiving thoughts exercise

This exercise helps you to learn how to talk nicely to yourself when you do something you’re not very happy with yourself about. Instead of criticising yourself it shows you how to think self-forgiving thoughts. You don’t need to scold or punish yourself when you do something in a lesser way than you’d like. You can actually choose to be compassionate to yourself instead – it’s up to you!!

In this exercise, you create a set of columns and rows – a matrix (as outlined below). Then you use this matrix to reorient your thoughts and feelings from self-attacking thoughts to self-forgiving thoughts. An example showing how the process works is included below.

Here is the format:

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

Example

A few seconds ago, I knocked a cup of coffee onto my computer. For me, that counts as a distressing situation. Therefore, it’s a good experience to plug into the matrix. Here is how I began to fill in the boxes.

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

I spilled my coffee onto my computer

Frustration

Guilt

Nervousness

In the first column, I simply describe the situation. In the second column, I make a list of some of my feelings: in this case, frustration (with myself), guilt (about my mistake), and nervousness (about the repercussions of the situation). I find it helpful to make this feeling list. By naming our specific feelings, we bring them up into awareness. We take ourselves out of denial. We reduce the tendency to ‘squash things down’.

Next, we use our feelings to move on to the underlying thoughts. The relationship between feelings and thoughts is like the relationship between smoke and fire. Distressing feelings are the smoke. Distressing thoughts are the fires that give rise to the smoke. In this case, where there’s smoke, there is fire – where there are distressing feelings, there are distressing thoughts underneath. In column three, we uncover the thoughts that are fuelling the feelings. Here is what I came up with.

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

I spilled my coffee onto my computer

Frustration

Guilt

Nervousness

That was such a dumb thing to do. I should be more careful. My computer is probably going to break now, and it’s all my fault. I’ll probably have to pay a lot of money to fix it. People are going to laugh at me if they see how careless I am.

As you can see, I uncovered three sets of self-attacking thoughts in column three. I probably could have come up with many more – but these were a good start. Writing them out in the matrix was extremely helpful. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware of these thoughts until I wrote them out. As I filled in this third column, the key was to realise that my feelings (in column two) were coming from my thoughts (in column three), not simply from the situation. You could say that the situation was a ‘trigger’ for the thoughts. I’m certainly not glad that I spilled coffee on my computer. But it was the thoughts that I needed to work on now.

Let’s move to column four – the heart of this exercise. In the final column of the matrix, you substitute self-forgiving thoughts for each of the self-attacking thoughts in column three. This is the big step. This turns the mind from self-criticism to self-forgiveness; from distress to peace. As you do this, you can focus on simply moving in the right direction. You don’t have to take a huge leap into complete forgiveness; you can take a series of little steps. Every bit of progress is helpful. Here is what I came up with, as I made this substitution.

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts

I spilled my coffee onto my computer

Frustration

Guilt

Nervousness

That was such a dumb thing to do. I should be more careful. My computer is probably going to break now, and it’s all my fault. I’ll probably have to pay a lot of money to fix it. People are going to laugh at me if they see how careless I am.

It wasn’t a dumb thing to do; it was simply an accident; And besides – my worth isn’t dependent on how ‘careful’ I am. Actually the computer seems fine. But even if I do need to repair the computer, I can do that in a self-forgiving state of mind. If people laugh at me, that’s their problem. Everyone makes mistakes at times.

Those self-forgiving thoughts may not have been the ‘highest’ thoughts in the world, but they helped me to shift my mind toward a more self-forgiving space. As I did that, the feelings of frustration, guilt, and nervousness were replaced – to some degree – by a greater sense of peace and self-acceptance. That is the goal of this exercise.

I find that this ‘cognitive restructuring’ work – replacing self-attacking thoughts with self-forgiving thoughts – is like priming a pump. We locate our self-attacking thoughts, and replace them with self-forgiving thoughts. We do this mechanical work over and over until the flow of loving, forgiving thoughts begins to run on its own. There is some work to do at the beginning, but we’re simply preparing our minds to receive the divine flow.

Conclusion:

Use this exercise whenever you catch yourself thinking self-attacking thoughts. Change them into self-forgiving thoughts. Over time you will find that your thinking automatically becomes self-forgiving whenever you do anything you are not 100% happy with yourself about. It will eventually become habit.

(This exercise comes from: Joseph D, 2004, The Matrix, Living Now, September 2004, Queensland issue 66, p22)

Your turn

Distressing Situation

Distressing Feelings

Self-Attacking Thoughts

Self-Forgiving Thoughts