Some criticism can be devastating. In fact, chances are that if you dig into your past memories you find a phrase that marked you for life. It is also likely this sentence contained a destructive criticism. And it is equally likely that the same sentence activates itself from time to time, especially in the most difficult moments, when you feel you have failed and no longer have the strength to go beyond or are overwhelmed by doubts. Unknowingly, that phrase has marked your life, defined you as a person and remains an obstacle.
However, if you want to be truly free and reach your full potential, it is essential you learn to judge yourself according to your own rules, forgetting the unhealthy criticism and the others. You have to see inside and stop criticizing yourself using the meter that others are using. Of course, it is not an easy task, especially because from childhood we have been subjected to harsh criticism, both from our parents and teachers or peers.
Soon we learned that to be accepted by some people we had to meet certain standards. This not only meant we had to follow their rules, but that gradually we went taking their worldview. In this way, we stopped judging ourselves for what we are to do so according to the criteria of the other. We stopped enjoying the things we liked to do the things that pleased others. At that time we replaced pleasure with duty, because we have fallen into a downward spiral that took us away, little by little, some of our most precious assets: self-esteem and confidence in ourselves.
Why we shouldn’t judge ourselves according to the rules of the others?
- Because we will never satisfy everyone. Every person is different, trying to meet everybody is impossible. Some will always disagree with your decisions because everyone judges you based on their own values and with their meter. In fact, as Woody Allen once said: “I do not know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone”.
- Because we’ll remain short of energy to do what really matters.Trying to please everyone you lose precious energy. While trying to understand the expectations that others put on you and make efforts to please them, you burn much of your energy, energy that can be used in projects that give you real personal satisfaction and make you grow.
- Because we’re wasting our time.Trying to please others and judging ourselves according to their criteria is not only exhausting, it also represents a huge waste of time. As you follow the rules and dreams of others time passes inexorably, so you face the risk of arriving at the end of your life and realize you lived a life that did not satisfy you, you will regret having lived for others.
- Because we lose ourselves. One of the main problems of judging ourselves with the eyes of others is that by doing so you lose the coordinates. While you make yours their value system and adopt their vision of the world, you walk away from your essence, until comes a time when you disconnect completely. Therefore, it is not surprising that when some people are asked what they really want, they do not know how to respond. They have embraced the wishes of others, losing themselves in the labyrinth of social conventions.
- Because we will never be happy.Happiness is not something external to us, it comes from within. So following the rules of others is the most direct route to unhappiness. Every time you give up on a dream you neglect your needs and you lose the taste for life, and happiness goes further and further away.
How to learn to judge yourself using your own personal criteria?
Our system of values, objectives and even expectations, are influenced by society. We cannot help it. In fact, it is not something negative because, after all, we live in society. But we can learn to reconnect with our essence. Listen to what our bodies and our hearts tell us, metaphorically speaking. At first you’ll hear them barely, they emit almost a whisper, because for years you have not been paying attention to them, but will gradually regaining confidence and their voice will turn stronger.
Then you can find out what you really want, figure out what makes you happy, excites you and makes you feel alive. At that point you will be ready to judge yourself according to your criteria, and see that is very different from what you’ve been taught. Remember that life is not measured by how many times you breathe, but by the moments that leave you breathless.
Have a good journey!