I am thankful to no longer be surrounded by chronic and destructive criticism. Looking back, constantly expending energy to protect my self esteem was exhausting over the years. Now I am free to pursue acts of compassion, happiness, self-love, and connections with positive friends and family. (2016 self realization)
Now how did I come to be in a place where I had to protect my self esteem and where negativity was a daily part of my life?
In my particular situation, I was romantically involved with an individual who was chronically critical and judgmental towards himself and others. I am not here to rehash all the ways he exhibited this behavior; generally it seemed that fault finding was his behavioral pattern. I am here to learn from this experience and share those lessons with you.
In order to sustain a happy life, you must establish and then protect your self esteem. I had to protect my self esteem during these difficult times. Everyone must protect their self esteem from the judgment that you and others impose provided they have established a sound and positive foundation of self.
At the time, I thought I had a healthy self esteem but upon further examination, I had some work to do to attain an optimal level of self love. Once I was no longer in this relationship, I felt free to be myself. Why did I stop being myself? In so many ways, I was trying to please someone else. While this can be an important mission, there is balance between pleasing someone and losing yourself.
In order to feel good about ourselves, we have to stop the habitual criticism of self and others. This can be difficult if we are closely involved with someone who exhibits this behavior. Incidentally, this guy also thought that others were always criticizing him or looking down on him. This is what he did to others and it was not true that everyone criticized him, or berated him, or wanted to somehow destroy him.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." But that is easier said than done. Some of us learned as children to reaffirm what people told us about ourselves. If our parents criticized us all the time, we then thought what they said was true and perhaps that habit has migrated to adulthood without you actually realizing it.
Make negative (nonconstructive criticism) irrelevant to your self-esteem. There is a reason it is called "self" "esteem". You must build yourself up! Every day, someone certainly can make us feel small but we must strive to stop the permanent endorsement of negative labels and judgments. Stop watching others and critiquing them! Stop enabling others to exhibit this behavior towards you. If you exhibit this behavior towards yourself, commit to changing. Insert a compliment for every criticism until you break the bad habit.
Certainly use constructive criticism and sound advice to become your best self. Surround yourself with people who drive you to be your very best. Don't be naive to the patterns in those you choose to surround yourself with. You can do this any number of ways but I recommend writing as an effective way to remember experiences and to connect the dots.
Ms. Bhakti Mary
I am an optimistic, positive, generous and driven author who is passionate about self-improvement.
The essence of who you are does not lie in the past. What matters is what you are willing to do NOW. You are the presence.