How come we can be so hard on ourselves? We are our own worst critics! When things don't go according to our plan, the internal talk we have is far more vicious and damning than we would ever voice out loud. (Think about the last time you were on a diet and ended up eating something you felt you shouldn't!) What makes things even worse, is that once we have entered into this negative way of thinking we can get trapped in it, with these thoughts going round and round in our head in a seemingly never-ending pattern. (Referring again to the diet scenario, we can beat ourselves up about eating a chocolate, telling ourselves how fat and useless we are and that we can never stick to anything - the next minute, we have abandoned all thoughts of diet and instead have wiped out the whole box of chocolates.)
Fear of being judged by others can lead to us avoiding situations. The reality is that we are the ones who are judging ourselves far more than anyone else.. most other people are too involved in their own lives to spend a lot of time worrying about others. When we think that others are calling us... useless, disorganised, stupid... it's more a reflection of our own thoughts than an insight into others' perceptions.
The good thing is we can decide to change - we can take steps to consciously start showing more self compassion - and there's a great reason for making this decision because research has shown that the more self-compassionate we are, the less anxious and depressed we tend to be.
When you start recognising the pattern of self criticism, don't judge yourself! That only leads to more negativity. Instead, interrupt it - admit to yourself that you are finding life challenging while recognising that it is a natural part of living. Ask what advice you would give your best friend - it certainly would be more compassionate than the negative thoughts we often aim at ourselves.
By choosing to be kinder to ourselves we will feel happier, we can find solutions to our problems because we are not focusing our time and energy in self-destrctive monologue and so have more capacity for planning the best way forward. When we start to find ourselves thinking more encouraging thoughts we will be braver and more likely to take risks because we no longer need to avoid situations where we are consumed by negativity. Any habit takes time to break - but be kind to yourself and persevere... and you could find yourself a lot happier in 2015!