How can you learn to end harsh self criticism, and why that is important for emotional growth?
As we start to round out the last quarter of the year, I want to start talking about the notion of emotional control, and the perception that goes along with it.
Before we start, I want to impart an important step when learning to understand your emotions:
You are not in control of what you feel or that you feel.
Since most people don’t like feeling something unpleasant that they cannot control, many people resort to harsh, punitive, critical, or cruel self talk or self-evaluation at the first indication of unpleasant feelings. What then, is the effect of thinking in such a negative manner over an extended period of time? Simply put, you don’t just end up feeling bad; instead, you end up feeling markedly worse.
Initially, it seems to mimic the same kind of “bad” feeling you experience when you first start to feel anything unpleasant about your situation, but harsh self-criticism ends up taking you to a much darker and more painful place from which an exit seems long, arduous, or nonexistent.
Harsh self-criticism is a way to disconnect or distract from unpleasant feelings.
Other than riding the 90-second waves of feelings once they arise, you have no way to prevent and control those spontaneous unpleasant feelings, no matter how much you would like to do so.
However, you do have some control over what and how you think, which means you have control over what you think about, what you say to yourself, and how you evaluate yourself. The element to keep in mind here is that you’re not in control of your feelings, but you are in charge of your thoughts.
Next week, I will go over the what I call “the delusion of control”, and how that plays in to ending harsh self criticism.
Wishing you the best,
Dr. Joan Rosenberg
Join my group on Facebook LOVE MY LIFE and let me know. Feel free to share my series with your friends or colleagues as well.