I believe we do everything we do in order to meet a need; even being self critical.
What need is behind the criticism?
When and why do we start to blame ourselves? When we feel insecure? To avoid the pain of shame?
I think we blame ourself as a way to protect our sensitive hearts and souls from feeling unloved, insecure, unseen, unwanted, rejected, alone, disconnected etc. If so, the needs are love, safety, to be seen, to be wanted, to be welcome and to get community and connection etc.
It’s helpful to identify the need behind our self critical behavior, because the self criticism doesn’t meet the need. As adults, what helps us is no longer to try to avoid the pain, it’s to understand the need and how to get it met. This is scary and difficult for most adults, but it’s a practice. You need to courageously vulnerably accept and show your needs for them to be met. And you need to get your needs met, otherwise you’ll feel miserable.
When we judge ourselves, we hurt ourselves. It’s self bullying. It must stop, immediately. Self bullying is a strategy to meet a need. If we can identify the need, our grown up part can help the young part inside to get that need met. There are so many ways in which our needs can be met. It’s a practice to dare to show ones needs. At first shame may arise, and if so, just stop, welcome it and accept it. It will fade. We’re so worthy of love and connection. Vulnerability is difficult in the beginning, but self bullying is much more difficult t live with. It might not appear so when you’re used to it, but when it has stopped you’ll see the difference.
The alternative is self empathy. A loving understanding of feelings and needs.
Self criticism is painful but there is a way out!