Discover Powerful Tools Free Yourself Of Self-Criticism Now
Are you hard on yourself? Do you frequent get impatient, frustrated, or disappointed in yourself?
If so, you’re not alone. Most people have a fairly critical relationship with themselves. Join Dr. Aziz in today’s ground breaking episode to discover exactly why you criticize yourself in the first place, and how to eliminate this pattern so you can feel more confidence, peace, and happiness in your life.
Click below to hear this episode!
Hey, everybody. Welcome to today’s episode of the show. Today, we’re going to be diving into something that affects everyone. I’ve seen it in all my clients and people that get my book and products and programs. I’ve seen it in my own life and family and friends and people that seem like they too have it all together, on the outside. This affects everyone, which is judging ourselves. And today’s episode is all about how to stop judging yourself.
If you would like to jump into the conversation, you can always join us at shrinkfortheshyguy.com. You can send me messages through that site. You can also go to facebook.com/social confidence. And of course, if you want to get a ton of resources to help you break free, go to my website socialconfidencecenter.com. You can get a free e-book there. You can actually probably get several free e-books there, but the main one is “Five Steps to Unleash your Inner Confidence.” You can get that whole thing there as well as videos, tons of stuff. Just go to socialconfidencecenter.com.
Because I’m here to help you not only stop judging yourself but stop doing all the negative things in your life that limit you, that keep you stuck, feeling anxious, feeling self-doubt, not liking who you are. Let’s shift all that. We can do that together. And if there’s one thing you get from listening to me today, it’s that you can shift this. There are hundreds of ways that you can make a major difference in your confidence starting today. Don’t believe any stories that says it’s “genetic” or it’s because my vast experience, my personal history now, I’m stuck this way or it’s been this way for so long, there’s nothing I can do about it. If you’re listening to this show, there’s a part of you that believes or wants to believe that you can and I’m here to tell you with absolute 100% certainty that you can because I did it in my own life and I’m continuing to use these principles to grow my confidence to greater and greater levels. And I’ve also seen it happen face to face, and over the phone in hundreds of people’s lives, and then through books and programs and products and the feedback I’ve gotten, thousands of people’s lives. So you absolutely can shift this and today is going to help you do that because we’re going to look at how to stop a particularly confidence draining pattern. I mean, when we’re judging ourselves, it’s kind of impossible to feel confident, relaxed, secure, strong, positive about ourselves, at the same time. It’s like a storm, we have to wait for the storm to pass. So, my intention today is to help you get a lot more awareness about the storm, understand it better and then have some really actionable tools that you can take to stop doing this so much, to really let go of this unhelpful, toxic pattern. So you’re ready? Let’s dive in.
First thing is do you know how you judge yourself? I’ve found that in my life, I judged myself in so many sneaky ways, that I didn’t even know I was doing it a lot of the time. I mean, we’re all familiar, of course, with the really obvious self-judgment, the one where you go to a party and you have an awkward interaction or you ask someone out and they say, “No,” or you try to do something at work and somebody shoots you down, something like that happens. And then afterwards, we judge the hell out of ourselves, right? You replay the event. Instead of me telling you that, how do you do it? How do you judge yourself harshly, after something awkward or negative happens or you experience a setback? What do you do? It’s really important to examine and question because you’re going to discover your own patterns. Some really common ones are we replay particular scenes of that moment, maybe the most awkward or uncomfortable ones that persons face, the thing we said, “I can’t believe, I said that. That was so stupid.” Then we kind of replay it and then we add that narrative on top. We kind of — we’re the commentator on the little movie. “I can’t believe I said that. That was so stupid. What’s wrong with me? I’m never going to get this.”
All right, so, in addition to the movie, of replaying negative events, we also are saying usually really harsh, toxic, critical negative things to ourselves. In fact, if you were to take that language and that audio, what we say to ourselves and watch a parent speaking that way to their child, you would probably call it abuse, wouldn’t you? Imagine that, you’re walking on the street, there’s a dad and there was a son, he’s like five years old. He’s like, “What the hell is wrong with you? You’re so stupid. You’re an idiot. You made a fool of yourself. Everyone’s going to think you’re dumb, no one’s going to like you. You’re never going to get this. What the hell is wrong with you?” It’s intense, isn’t it? And yet because it’s in our own heads and because it’s so familiar, it’s like we experience it every day. It’s like the background sound of your air conditioner in your house or your heater. You probably don’t even notice it after a while. So, because it’s so familiar, we just let it pass. And there’s more subtle ways that we criticize ourselves as well too. We might be comparing ourselves to others and look at all the ways that they’re better than we are. “Oh, that guy is so much better than I am, I’m such a loser.”
We might — this was really an interesting one, that I actually noticed myself recently, very recently because I’ve done a lot of work on this and when I noticed the obvious self-attack, I used one of the strategies that I’ll share later in this episode to help stop it. I don’t do that as much anymore but then I noticed this really subtle one which is just seeing myself as not capable, not competent and just imagining me flubbing things, failing things, not succeeding in things. And it just hit me, maybe a couple of weeks back, I’ll say, “That’s kind of self-criticism, that’s judging myself in a strange way,” judging myself as a sort of incompetent fool. I don’t say those things to myself in my head but if I looked at how it’s predicting the future and what I was seeing for myself is possible, it’s judging myself. So, there’s subtle ways. And if you really want to go down the wormhole, the rabbit hole, the rabbit hole into the wormhole into another dimension, you’ve got to check out, Theodore Reuben’s book called, “Self Hate & Compassion.” That book will blow your mind. It’s like he peels back three layers and it is intense. He talks all about self-hate and all the subtle ways we do it and man, that is like a fire hose of awareness.
Now, you have to read the second half of the book which is about self-compassion. I mean, good god, I had people I recommended to, who read just the first half. And they’re like, “Oh my god, this is overwhelming, all the ways I hate myself.” I was like, “No, no, no, you’ve got to keep going, there’s a flipside, right? There’s this going into the uncomfortable stuff which I actually found really fascinating and then going into the how to really be on your own side. So, that’s called “Self-Hate & Compassion.” If you want to go deeper on that, I’m sure you can find it on Amazon. I tried to get him on the show. I don’t know if he’s still alive. If he is, he’s probable in his 90s, that will be awesome. I should keep trying. Anyway, now what we’re going to do is we’re going to look at, “Why you do it?” Now, you have some ideas about how you do it, we’re going to take a quick break and we’re going to go back into, “Why you do it?” Then we’re going to look at the real reasons. Whatever you thought was wrong. I’m going to tell you the real reasons. And then we’re going to look at some really specific patterns on how to shift this, how to stop it. So while we take a quick break, I want you to think about, “Why do you judge yourself. What is the purpose of that do you think?”
Have you ever wondered what it would really be like to work directly with Dr. Aziz? After breaking from shyness and social anxiety himself, he has now gone on to help the thousands of men and women do the same. Here is what one client of Dr. Aziz has to say about his experience.
Well, before I started working with Aziz, I definitely had a lot of doubts. Sure, yes, I thought that, “Is this guy a scam? Is he — I’m paying all this money, investing all this time into building my confidence, he might just be some guy that I found on the Internet. Who knows that if it’s going to work or not? Definitely, definitely. I know that a lot of guys have this kind of experience, too. But you know what, it’s like taking a risk versus living in my small life for the rest of my life. I say, “You know what, I’m going to do it and see what happens and just see what’s out there. And I just want to tell Dr. Aziz, I love what you do. I love the fact that you are just really willing to help people to make this world a better place, a more lovable, more confident, and just really bringing out the full potential in people because when I first met you, I was really small. My boss hated me, my dad thought that I was a failure, I thought that no girls, no woman’s ever going to want to date me but now, I’m starting my own business. I got my own patent, I’m just really looking for a [inaudible 00:10:23.8]. I want to do business with Wal-Mart, Costco and I have multiple women, different numbers, wanting to just date me and just hang out with me. My dad thinks I’m an awesome person. Just over this past one year, I’ve shifted drastically and I just want to thank you Dr. Aziz for just bringing the full potential in me and thank you.
To get started on your journey towards lifelong confidence with Dr. Aziz, simply go to socialconfidencecenter.com/coaching.
So, what have you come up with? Why do you judge yourself? There’s some major reasons that I’ve seen in people and myself. One, the most common one is, “Got to make ourselves better, man. How else am I going to succeed, achieve, strive, excel without beating the crap out of myself?” I mean that is a really deep pattern, that is ingrained in most of us from childhood, from education, from parents, from conditional senses of love, like you better do X, you better get all A’s or else, I stop loving you kind of thing, right? So, we do that to ourselves now. I’m going to make myself better. We’ll explore that in a minute in its effectiveness but why else do you judge yourself? And another really common one, in addition to making ourselves achievers and better is to make sure that we’re good. I’m going to make sure that I’m a good person. So if I do something bad, and that could be about others or just about following rules that we think are important. So, I’m on a diet and I try not to eat sugar and then I eat sugar.
Now, I got to beat myself up because I was bad, I broke the rules. It can also be social rules like, “Oh, so and so wanted me to accommodate them and fit them into my schedule on a Friday or someone wanted me to pick them at the airport on a Saturday and I just had a really busy day and I didn’t want to, I mean I could have. I switched everything around to get him. It wasn’t like I had hard appointments but I had just a lot of stuff planned, I didn’t want to do it. Then self-criticism kicks in. Oh, that’s not good. You’re a bad, selfish, mean person. That’s where it can come in.
Another option for self-criticism is – this one’s interesting. To make sure that people like us, that’s another one. So any time there’s a social situation or an imagined future situation or someone could possibly not like us, we criticize ourselves for what we did, what we should have done, what we could have done, why did we do this and then the Idea is that if we criticize ourselves for making a stupid joke that no one laughed at, then we’ll never make that kind of joke again and therefore people will not dislike us by not laughing at our jokes. So, these are just a few that I came up with. I’m curious why do you judge yourself, what is the purpose of it? Interesting. Might be something to think on, what we think it gives us. There are two other reasons underneath that I would think are why we really do it. Because if you look at these, does it makes us better, absolutely not. There’s tons of research on this, that the more we criticize ourselves, the less we’re likely to take risks which just means take action and try to learn, we’re hesitant because we don’t want to feel that self-judgment; it doesn’t make us better people.
I mean, either we conform to some rule but then we feel tense and resentment and trapped or we just beat ourselves up like in the example of the diet, that doesn’t make you stick to a diet better, not in the long term and to make sure people like us, man, people do not like us because we’ve criticized ourselves into a small box to get their approval. No, in fact, that is the actual opposite effect is people don’t like us as much. I mean they might not hate us, we might not controversial figures or something but we’re also just kind of ignored, they’re not excited about being friends with us, about dating us, about hiring us, about promoting us, about working with us. So the people pleasing thing doesn’t really work. So all of these things, the reasons we judge ourselves don’t really work but we keep doing it and I think, because there’s two reasons underneath.
And here’s what they are. One reason is habit. It’s just habit. It’s a habit of self-hate. It’s like the idea of the neurons, the fire together, wire together just grooved into our neural network, it’s something that we’re so habituated to doing that we do it. Like for example, have you ever had your phone in your pocket on vibrate? And then, like the next day or whatever, you’re walking and you feel the phone vibrating in your pocket. And then you reach down and it turns out that it wasn’t at all. Your body just like created that entire thing. It’s like something in your brain just fired off and said like, “It’s vibrating down there.” And it’s the same thing with self-habit. It’s just buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz. The brain is just sending little signals that’s just firing off the same patterns, it doesn’t matter what happens, we just do the same habit. That’s why I think, one of the main reasons we do it; it’s the habit of self-hate. And we’ve been doing that for so long, for so many years that we just keep repeating it and we’re unconscious of it, that’s why the purpose of this episode is to help you become more aware, because once you become aware, something doesn’t have to go on auto-pilot. We can change it. We can choose to pick something different. So, that’s one of the real reasons that I think we keep doing it.
The second which is really fascinating, is protection. I think we’re trying to protect ourselves. Now, why on earth would beating myself up in my head be trying to protect me? What do you think? What could it be protecting you from? That’s right. I’m waiting. I’m waiting for you to think about it because I could just tell you a bunch of stuff and you could be entertained or we could work together. What I’m trying to do is I’m trying to simulate what it would be like to work with me, to be in a group with me, to be one on one with me, because I know that that stuff produces results and changes people’s lives. I’ve seen it. So I’m trying to recreate that in these shows and these episodes. So, really play full-out with me here. What could it possibly be protecting you from, to beat yourself up? Good. Interesting. What did you come up with? So I think is one, it might protect us from taking those risks. So, if I beat myself up a bunch and then I’m less likely to go talk to someone, that means I’m less likely to get rejected.
That’s one of the major things that I was tying to it. Nothing is trying to protect us from — in a weird way, it’s trying to protect us from feeling unhappy. I’ve seen this a lot. I actually go really deep with people and do dialogues with their critic with it. It’s really interesting, and a little strange but fascinating, fun and rapidly liberating. And one of the things that always comes up is that critical part wants the person to perform better, speak up more, be well liked, do awesome in life. And if you ask why, “The reason is well because I want them to be happy.” So, it’s trying to protect you from pain and guide you towards happiness. Is it working, not really, not very effective. But maybe that’s what it’s trying to do, maybe it’s on your side in a weird twisted way, as I talked about a way, way back episode, my beloved monster in me, maybe it’s your beloved monster. So we’re going to talk about how to shift this, how to break this, how to really approach life in a different way where you’re not judging you. Can you imagine what that would be like, to not judge yourself so much or at all? Whoa. Let’s take a quick break and then we’re going to dive into, exactly how, to stop judging yourself. We’re going to talk about some very specific tools and strategies. Stay tuned.
Have you heard about optimal self-coaching? It’s what Aziz teaches all of his private and group coaching clients. It helps you completely transform the way you talk to yourself in your own mind, so you can instantly start feeling more confident. Be more comfortable around others and guide yourself to greater levels of career and relationship success. To learn exactly how to transform your inner coach, go to yourconfidencecode.com to get your copy today.
Okay. Let’s look at a couple of ways that you can stop judging yourselves today, right now. The first thing you’ve got to do is you’ve got to become aware of when you’re judging yourself. That’s why we spend the first chunk of this episode looking at how you do it specifically. This is to raise your awareness so you can see the pattern as it’s happening. You have to be able to see it. So, subtle, obvious, it doesn’t matter how you’re judging yourself. When you notice yourself judging yourself, here’s what you want to do. You want to raise your hands slightly into the air and say, “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Okay. I’m judging myself.” Now, if you are in a public setting or there’s other people around, you can just do it in your head. But I find if no one’s around, doing the gesture is really powerful because it breaks the pattern. Remember, this is habit. A brain is fired like this for dozens of years, depending on how old you are, so we want to break that power. Anything we can do to get on our own side to help us break it is good. So, raise your hands just a little bit, as if someone’s coming at you fast and you’re like, “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Okay. I’m attacking myself. That is not helpful.” That’s the label. That’s not helpful. And then you have a choice and you can do a few different things. But the first step is just to notice it. Then you can go two different rounds. One is you can treat yourself with compassion. I might speak a little more on how to do that.
And the other is like a “choose your own adventure.” So, step one is, “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. I’m attacking myself. This is not helpful.” Step 2; I have a choice A or B. A is, “Okay, let me see if I can treat myself with compassion here.” B, “Let me talk to that critic fellow.” Okay. So, let’s look at each of those for a moment here. A, self-compassion. This one’s big. I’m sure you’ve heard it in other episodes and also my programs. I mean I have an entire program that is deeply dedicated to really changing the way that we talk to ourselves; optimal self-coaching and it’s called the, “Confidence Code,” and this goes really deep into that because it’s one of the most important aspects of lasting confidence. You got to change the way you relate to yourself. So, here’s a simple thing that you can do to helping that process; just when you notice yourself attacking, say, or judging yourself, say, “Okay, how, if I wanted to, how would I treat myself with more compassion right now, if I was going to treat someone that I loved with kindness, empathy, patience, understanding and compassion. What would I say then?” And really think about it, really focus on it. Imagine that.
So, let’s say — you were — I mentioned an example earlier, where you made a joke and no one laughed. Let’s say, you were in a — could be in a party setting, it could be in a work setting, maybe it’s before the meeting and you’re just trying to break the ice and you make a joke and you get a bunch of stern faces back. And then you’re just replaying it later like, “Oh my god, that was so stupid, why did I say that. They’re not going to take me seriously now. No one at the partly likes me, I’m a loser.” Let’s say you’re going to town on yourself, you’re judging the hell out of yourself and stop the pattern, interrupt it. When you say, okay, if I was treating someone with compassion, maybe think of a good friend or maybe if you’re a parent, this is even better. I was going to treat my little kid who is hurting with love and compassion, what would I say? You’d maybe say, “Hey that’s tough, that’s awkward, I’ve been there; no one likes the joke that falls flat. Yes, it’s painful, now, how did the rest meeting go? Did people really not pay attention to you or really not take you seriously? Was there any real negative consequence of that? Was kind of exploring, being curious with them. Now, you don’t want to try to talk him out of it like, “Oh, it was fine, shut up,” that’s not very compassionate, right. So, just really imagine you’re talking to someone you love and, “Hey, what a concept,” talk as if you’re talking to someone you love which is you and then bringing that in and it can be really powerful to do, an exercise that I learned from Christian Neff which are called self-compassion letters. So, what you do is you actually write a short paragraph about the experience, where you’re doing nothing but offering a ton of compassion. You can imagine someone in your life, who just really gave that to you, maybe it was your Grandma or a family friend.
I mean, and if you were not fortunate enough to have that, maybe you pick a character from a movie or a TV show or a spiritual or religious or symbolic figure that embodies that like the Buddha or Jesus or something that really embodies compassion and use that like, “What would they say to me,” whatever your source, it doesn’t matter. You want to access compassion. That’s the first way to respond to self-judgment. The second is to interact with your critic and to dialog with your critic and this is a major component of what I do with people to help set them free.
So we’re not going to be able to cover the whole thing here but I’m going to give you a few tips on how to get started which is best to do this on paper, because the likelihood of being able to enroll a friend in this, that’s so vulnerable and feels embarrassing, it’s hard but if you can talk to someone and get them to work with you on this, that’s really valuable. But start with yourself. If you’re doing it yourself, start with paper because if you try to do this in your head, it’s like a house of mirrors, where you can’t really see where you are and it’s confusing, you get disoriented and our thoughts are so fast and our patterns of self-judgment and self-hate are so sneaky that it’s best to get it on paper. So what you do is you just have the critic and me. I put a C for the critic and an M for me. Critic, let it say whatever it wants to say, “Oh my god, you’ve made a fool of yourself, the joke was terrible, why do you always make these bad jokes?”
So it says that. Then you’re going to respond but you’re going to respond in a new way that you’ve probably never done with your critic. You’re going to respond to it like it’s an upset person that you want to understand. They have legitimate reasons for being upset, something they lost, they were not treated right, they are scared of losing something, so they’re angry, whatever it is, just like someone’s coming at you and they’re really upset, you going to want to respond, a dialog, so they say, “You made a fool of yourself, why do you always do that,” You’re going to say, “Wow, sounds like you’re pissed off, that I made this joke and no one laughed.” And the critic is going to say, “Yes and here’s another reason why you suck and here’s another thing” and you’re just going to roll with it, “Yes, that’s right, yes, okay you didn’t want this and you didn’t like that and you’re upset about this.” You’re just going to keep empathizing with it and exploring it, as if it’s an upset person and then as it starts to calm down, you can explore what it was really hoping you did, what does it really want you to do, how does it really want you to be at parties and at work and at other situations and dating. And then see if you can align with it.
This is just incredibly powerful, this process and if you want to go really deep on this, inside of “Confidence Unleashed,” as an additional bonus, in the additional resource section of that program, I have an hour plus session that I do with the client or this is what we did and we dove deep into the different parts of his mind and how to dialog with them and it was life changing and he said that that conversation literally changed the course of his life and how he related to himself and his kids and his family and everything, so really powerful, this kind of work. This is what you want to do. You want to interrupt that pattern, “Whoa, whoa, I’m judging myself, that’s not helpful.” In fact, what am I saying here, this is an action step, in fact, let’s dive into that right now.
Okay. So, today’s action step which is what I was describing apparently earlier is to — when you notice yourself attacking yourself this week, break the pattern, “Whoa. Whoa. I’m attacking myself. That’s not helpful,” and then do option A which is just treating yourself with compassion or option B is actually dialog with your critic. Get to know this guy, it’s a part of you. And he doesn’t have to be some scary monster that just beats you up and you take it. You can deal with him, you can interact with him, you can talk with him, you can explore what he really wants and here’s a little secret, every part of us, even the most critical, awful, scary sounding parts actually want what’s best for us. It’s like a fundamental law of the psyche. It’s just misguided. It’s a little twisted. It’s a little off. And we need to help correct him, help guide him. And usually that happens when you feel seen and heard, so again, if you want to go way deeper on that check out, Confidence Unleashed, there’s a ton in there about how to deal with the parts of yourself and that bonus program as well. So, let me know how this show’s working for you. You can go to iTunes and give it a rating, leave comments and feedback there and you can also go to shrinkfortheshyguy.com Let me know how, what you’re getting, what you’re exploring and what you’re learning. I love hearing from people and I can’t wait to hear from you. Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.
Thanks for listening to “Shrink for the Shy Guy” with Dr. Aziz. If you know anyone who can benefit from what you’ve just heard, please let them know and send them a link to shrinkfortheshyguy.com. For free blogs, e-books and training videos related to overcoming shyness and increasing confidence, go to socialconfidencecenter.com.
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