Letting Go of Unhealthy Self-Criticism

I’ve been thinking about the role of self-criticism in our lives. Self-criticism, or the practice of pointing out your perceived flaws, can be a healthy way to increase self-awareness and grow as an individual. However, self-criticism may also become a barrier to the growth of self-esteem, happiness, and peace of mind.

Studies have shown that excessively self-critical thoughts often have their roots in negative experiences during childhood. In particular, studies have shown that a person’s sense of self is most affected by the relationships between them and their parents during the formative years. When parents give a child plenty of freedom to make their own choices, encourage them to do things for themselves, and allow them to make their own mistakes, children are more likely to develop healthy self-confidence and grow up with a sense of security regarding their choices, rather than self-doubt.

On the other hand, more dictatorial parenting styles, such as those which are more controlling and rigid, may have the result of harming the healthy development of a child’s self-confidence, and may also affect their self-worth and foster negative self-perceptions. When children are treated with less warmth by their parents, or are frequently criticized, they may be more likely to grow up being overly critical of both themselves as well as others.

There is definitely an optimal amount of self-criticism. For example, when self criticism impedes one’s ability to thrive and grow as an individual, the benefits of self-criticism, in terms of growing and becoming a better person, may be overwhelmed by the potential harm to mental well-being. Such excessive self-criticism may contribute to depression, social anxiety, body image issues, or a sense of worthlessness.

This has been an issue for me for a long time, but I am working on it with help of an excellent therapist. In order to resolve my issues, I have been exploring the unrealistic expectations that I put on myself, and have found them to be not my own expectations, but rather those of my parents and other people in my life. As I continue to work through my issues, I realize that these expectations have had a powerful effect on my beliefs and behaviors. I am now working to align my life with my internal beliefs and values, and I’m working with my therapist to achieve greater happiness, compassion, and self respect in my life.

Have you had any issues with self-criticism, and, if so, how have you been working to resolve them? Let me know in the comments below!

My Meditation Practice

With the hectic pace and demands of modern life, meditation is becoming more and more important. For a long time, I perpetually felt overstressed and overworked. That stress and exhaustion made me unhappy, frustrated, and often unable to handle small stresses throughout my day. Instead of being able to brush off something small that bothered me, I would often get very emotional and shed tears.

Worse yet, that stress and exhaustion can negatively affect your health. Incredibly, many of us are often so busy that we feel that there is no time to stop and reflect on our situation and figure out how to make it better! Talk about failing to sharpen the saw!

About a year ago, I read a few books on meditation and took them to heart. I started stopping and taking a few minutes every day to meditate and relax my mind. Part of the reason I felt the need to do this was the insomnia that I had been battling for sometime.

I started with a simple 10 or 15 minute breathing meditation. I would often find an opportunity to do it at work. For example, during my lunch break, I would leave my office building and find a quiet spot somewhere in a park, either on the grass, or on a bench. I would close my eyes, focus on my breathing, and try to let my troubles fade away.

As I did this more and more, I found that I would feel more energized, more alert, and less prone to be upset by things. I started meditating before bed each night as well, and more times during the day. If I felt myself going through a painful episode at work, I would often take a few minutes for a meditation break. All of this did wonders for my stress and tension levels.

Since then, I’ve taken my meditation up another level. I find that playing relaxing music in the background helps facilitate my ability to enter a meditative state. To help promote that, I recently purchased this lovely Tibetan singing bowl. Singing bowls produce beautiful music which invokes deep meditative and peaceful states. The store I bought from from also has a great FAQ section with plenty of information about Tibetan bowls.

Do you meditate, and, if so, what is your meditation practice like? Let me know in the comments below!

Natural Remedy for Insomnia

I’ve been having some trouble getting to sleep at night. It’s been very odd, because I have an active life, get plenty of physical (and mental) exercise during the day, and climb into my bed at night quite tired and ready to recharge. But, despite all of that, I find myself counting endless sheep, and getting progressively more anxious with the dwindling time I have to get a good night’s rest!

I’ve been doing a lot of research on the subject, as well as seeing a naturopath who is working to help resolve my issues. Currently, it appears that the problem may be hormonal. I’ve got various things in the works to rebalance my hormones and address the root of the problem, but, in the meantime I do need some way to manage to get to sleep at night, as waking up tired can propagate the root causes of the hormonal issues.

Luckily, I recently learned about an all-natural product that can help promote good rest. I’ve been using it for some time with great success. The product is called Ortho Sleep by AOR. In essence, it’s a natural solution to promote restful sleep and helps a person fall sleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed. It works wonders for many people and has even won awards.

It’s also great that the product is gluten-free as well as GMO-free. The product contains a blend of nutrients and compounds which are shown to be effective in combatting insomnia, restoring a proper circadian rhythm and promoting healthy, restful sleep. These include relaxing euro transmitters like melatonin, as well as other compounds which reduce feelings of worry, especially when trying to fall asleep. The formula also includes valerian root, passionflower extract, and lemon balm, all of which possesses relaxing properties.

This product has done wonders for my sleep. If you suffer from insomnia as well, give this a try!