How to soothe the self-judgement monster
Are you familiar with your self-judgement monster? Self-judgement monsters are real pieces of work. They live down in the murky depths of your mind, they have a knack for making you feel blah when you were feeling good, and can also make you feel super low when you are struggling through some tough times.
Self-judgement monsters can arrive unexpectedly at any moment, and for some folks they appear frequently when feeling overwhelmed, tired, and in particular when they mess up. Some of my own self judgement monster’s favorite things to say to me are:
"Well if you would’ve just scheduled this earlier, started this sooner, or not waited to the last minute, then this wouldn't suck so badly, you suck, why do you always do this!" “What’s the point of doing this now.” “Give up already!”
Dang!! That is just downright mean.
Recently this internal dialogue was loud and clear while I was preparing my online scheduling availability. I realized I forgot to block off a time slot and I ended up double booking myself. Not really a huge problem but instead of calmly fixing the issue by contacting both clients to get it sorted out right away, I first unleashed the self-judgement monster and let it knock me around a bit before I handled the problem. Man, it was a bummer.
I brought this situation up in a session with my own coach and she asked me a couple questions that I felt were really helpful. The first one, “What do you get by beating yourself up?” this one really hit home as I immediately realized it is a pattern of playing a martyr (One who suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle, or one who makes a great show of suffering in order to arouse sympathy) that I tend to lean into when I feel low after having messed up. The next question “When you go into that patterned thinking, what do you get out of it, what do you think are wanting to feel?” Oh man, that question stumped me a bit, and I really had to examine it. Once I had some time to sit with it, I realized I wanted to feel understood, to feel supported. I wanted someone to say to me, hey girl it’s okay I get it, it happens. I wanted to feel loved. But wait, couldn’t I do that myself? I realized in that moment that I wanted more than ever was to be able to love myself more and stop being so hard on myself all the time.
If you too lean into the pattern of mental martyrdom when you mess up, know that you are not alone. That many people fall into this pattern as well. But even more important, know that you have the ability to keep the self-judgement monster, and mental martyr at bay by actively asking yourself:
“What do I get out of beating myself up? and “how do I really want to feel?”
Begin by kindly reminding yourself that it’s okay. It happens, and you will try better next time. This isn’t some Pollyanna feel good sentiment, really remind yourself that mistakes happen every day, by people all over the world, and you are going to get through it. With that awareness alone you can gently ease the self-judgement monster back into his cage and hide the key for a while.
Now take a deep breath and rest a hand on your heart. Gently Acknowledge your thoughts and then silently repeat to yourself " I am moving through this day without judgement, my words are gentle. I deserve love and kindness."
As these words repeat over in your mind, notice how you feel. Is there any resistance to their meaning? Does it feel good to give yourself a break? Notice how your body feels when you allow yourself to soften into this awareness.
Continue to practice your self-love protection to in order to handle the mental monster struggle and remember some days will be easier than others. Maybe you’ll mess up and hit the snooze button by accident when you have an early morning meeting. Maybe you’ll tell a friend you could meet when you actually have some other engagement on the calendar. Maybe you’ll double book a client, or forget to pick your kid up after practice on time. Whatever it is, remember by tapping into some empowered self-love and awareness can help keep the monster at bay and set you off on the right without as much of the mental set back.
And then one day when you mess up and your exhausted, you will have the awareness to say, well that sucks, but it happens. I need a break and what can I do right now for myself so I don’t go down this mental road? Remember that you go this, and also please do not feed the monster’s!
In love and gratitude-