Refresh Your Internal Dialogue: Overcoming Constant Self Criticism

Let me ask you a serious question. Would you talk to someone else the way you talk to yourself? Self criticism is a form of self hate. You can stop sabotaging your dreams by changing your inner dialogue. Your words have so much value. Let’s use our words for personal growth instead of using them to criticize ourselves.

The tongue has the power of life and death…

Proverbs 18:21, NIV

You were created to fulfill your entire God-given destiny and that excludes self criticism. Let’s take a journey together and learn how to love ourselves in the not so pretty places of hearts. To start, we’re going to need to examine our hearts and look at the problem. Not just the symptoms but the actual problem. Let’s go deep!

Going Deeper And Getting To The Root

When we go deep, we are searching for the roots of our behavior, not just the symptoms. For example, if a person has a problem with drinking too much alcohol you could say that they have a drinking problem. But, the overconsumption of alcohol is usually just a symptom of that person’s heart pain. The root (and the true problem) could be fear of rejection surfacing from being bullied as a kid or maybe abandonment issues from having an absent parent.

These roots act as triggers in our life and create unhealthy behaviors, which are the symptoms. When we deal with self criticism we have to drill down to see why we talk to ourselves the way we do.

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Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

In Mark 12:31, Jesus says that the second commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. Of course, He implying to love your neighbor well. So, we have to read between the lines to realize that we have to love ourselves before we can love our neighbors. Where does that love for ourselves come from? It comes from God. Because He first loved us, we can love others. But, we need to learn how to receive His love.

31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:31, NKJV

Would You Be Friends With Yourself?

Would you be friends with yourself? I am seriously asking this question. If you were asked to be friends with a person who speaks to you the way you speak to yourself would you do it? If the answer is no, we’ve got some work to do.

I have worked on healing self criticism in my own heart for years, and in this blog I am sharing with you what I have learned throughout the process. We need to treat ourselves the way we treat others that we love. Ultimately, we need to love ourselves.

How Much Are We Loved By God?

Let’s look at Psalm 139 in The Passion Translation bible to get a glimpse of just how much we are loved. David is thanking God for cherishing him. He even says that in every single moment, God is cherishing him. It’s the same for you. God is literally cherishing you and the days He planned for you every day of your life.

17-18 Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought!

Psalm 139:17-18

We have to look deeper in our hearts to get to the place where we know we are loved by Jesus. If this seems foreign to you that’s okay. It was foreign to me at first too. The good thing is that if we get stumped, we can ask Him to show us where He wants to heal our heart.

The self love process starts with saying a short prayer asking Jesus to show you the root of the areas where you are a little too hard on yourself. After all, how can we pray effectively if we are not fully accepting of the true problem? The simple answer is we can’t.

What Is Self Hate?

Self hate is an intense feeling of dislike, hatred, or contempt toward yourself. It involves holding negative beliefs and judgments about your own self worth, abilities, appearance, or overall identity.

People who battle with self hate often have a critical inner voice where they are constantly berating and belittling themselves. I used to be this way and it was not fun. The constant criticism leads to feelings of shame, guilt, and inadequacy. The question to ask yourself here is when did that critical inner voice start?

For me, it started when I was very young. I was sexually abused in my early childhood years and I took on the belief that the abuse was my fault. The result of this belief system was shame and low self esteem. I even suffered with anorexia at one point. You can read more about my story and how I went from desperation to victory here.

Self hate can manifest in various ways, such as self destructive behaviors, perfectionism, constant self criticism, low self-esteem, and a tendency to compare oneself unfavorably to others. It can also contribute to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. I have suffered with and been healed of all three! And, Jesus wants to heal you too!!

Defining Self Sabotage

Self sabotage is the result of years of constant self criticism and self hate. It manifests in patterns of behavior or thoughts that undermine your own well being or goals. Self sabotage involves intentionally or unintentionally engaging in actions or adopting attitudes that prevent personal growth or lead to failure. These behaviors often arise from unhealthy subconscious beliefs, fears, or negative self perceptions.

Here are some practical examples of self sabotage. They can vary across different aspects of life, including relationships, career, health, and personal development. The common forms of self-sabotage include:

  • Procrastination: Deliberately putting off tasks or responsibilities, leading to unnecessary stress and missed opportunities
  • Fear of failure: Holding yourself back from taking risks or pursuing goals due to a fear of failing or facing disappointment
  • Negative self talk: Engaging in self critical or self defeating thoughts, undermining self confidence and creating a self fulfilling prophecy of failure
  • Perfectionism: Setting unrealistically high standards for oneself, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and hinder progress
  • Avoidance: Avoiding uncomfortable situations or difficult emotions instead of addressing them, which can limit personal growth and resilience
  • Self-medication: Using substances or engaging in unhealthy behaviors as a way to cope with stress, emotions, or difficulties, which can have detrimental effects on physical and mental well being

First Step To Break Free

We have to determine how the negative self talk started. There are several factors that can contribute to the development of constant self criticism:

  • Negative childhood experiences
  • Harmful social influences
  • Traumatic events (past or present)
  • Unhealthy relationships

Each of these influences in your life can shape the perception you have of yourself and create a negative self image. I mention these factors so that when you pray you can ask Jesus if any apply to your life. Let’s start by asking Jesus to show us the root of self hate in our lives and our individual habits of self sabotage.

Let’s Pray For Jesus To Show Us the Root Of Our Problem

Jesus, I give you permission to show me the root of self hate in my life. What areas of my life do I hate myself? Why do I hate myself in these areas? I invite You to show me where this behavior began. I also give You permission to highlight to me each of my self sabotaging habits. Jesus, show me my emotional pain. Please heal my soul and my spirit. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

How To Overcome Constant Self Criticism

Overcoming self hate often involves a journey of self discovery, self compassion, and self acceptance. As you walk with Jesus, I believe He wants to show you your emotional pain so that He can heal it. Remember, He only reveals it to heal it. You will not stay here in this place of pain. You’re just passing through on your self discovery journey. Learn more about the healing process here.

Your journey may involve seeking support from trusted friends or mental health professionals, such as therapists and support groups. They can provide guidance and help challenge your negative self beliefs. Developing self care practices, focusing on personal strengths, and practicing self compassion are essential steps toward building a healthier and more positive relationship with yourself.

Understanding and addressing self sabotaging behaviors typically involves the following:

  • Self-reflection
  • Identifying patterns
  • Developing strategies to change these patterns
  • Set realistic goals
  • Cultivate self compassion
  • Challenge your negative self talk with positive affirmations
  • Pray and ask Jesus in to help you

Routinely practicing self care is the key to breaking the cycle of self sabotage and fostering personal growth. Once you identify the root of the problem I recommend journaling to work out your thoughts and feelings.

Did this blog post speak to your heart? I hope so! Sign up today to receive my emails featuring the latest from Seeking Him Today by going to our Stay In Touch page.