Judge, Jury and Executioner: the Inner Critic
I stared in silence as she spoke.“You are so fat. Look at your stomach. Look at the your thighs. Wow! You look disgusting!”
Saying nothing, I carefully considered her words.
My heart was breaking, but I tried to convince myself that she was only trying to motivate me. That’s what I needed to believe.
Her rant was no surprise…the words always stung and left me feeling inadequate and dejected.
Alone and disheartened, I turned away from the mirror and promised myself that this time, I would exercise more and eat less… same words, different day.
Although I physically walked away, the problem was that these were my own thoughts….my own words were becoming worse than any bully I’ve ever known…. and I’ve known many.
Stepping onto the scale (yet again), I sighed at the numbers.
Slippery Slope of Self-Worth
Significant, of value, appreciated, highly thought-of, deserving…these are a few of the terms that are synonymous with worth.
How we feel about who we are is our self-worth.
We all tend to have our own concepts of self-worth. The way we view, define and project it varies from person to person.
I like to think of self-worth as a combination of self-esteem and self-confidence.
Esteem is from the Latin aestimare, meaning to estimate. Our self-esteem is an estimate of what we perceive our worth to be.
Latin also gives us the word for confidence, confidere, meaning to trust, which is the trust that we have in our capacity to perform.
Unfortunately, in our society, self-worth is often measured based on outside factors…externally validated measures of what we should inherently feel.
When we ONLY see ourselves in comparison to another’s status (frighteningly dramatized in an episode of the British anthology series, “Black Mirror”, entitled ‘Nosedive”) as opposed to a values-based system, it can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.
Without a strong sense of self-worth and a strong internal compass, one can be easily taken off course.
The temptation is strong and it’s everywhere…
Friends, frenemies, social media, fashion, commercials and billboards are just a few of the influences that impact us both consciously and subconsciously.
In the case of advertising, our self-esteem is chipped away at, in order to be rebuilt by the product on our screens.
We become complicit in giving ammunition to our inner critic. The more fault we find with ourselves, the more fodder provided.
IF only we were: prettier, thinner, taller, shorter, more toned, had longer more luxurious lashes, better hair, a nicer car, flatter abs, a rounder butt, a smaller butt or whatever it is that we don’t currently possess…THEN, life would be (fill in the blank).
Comparison has been called the thief of joy, nevertheless, it has become a unit of measurement used to, seemingly, allow us to determine our worth.
In a funhouse mirror way, it gives us an “estimate” of who we believe we are.
Judge, Jury and Executioner: The Inner Critic
My inner critic challenged my worth at every turn, so, I looked outside of myself to obtain it.
No matter what I found, nothing (and no one) outside of me could give me what I wasn’t willing to give myself…love, validation, and acceptance.
When we don’t value ourselves, we journey through life as if we were worthless…we can also develop a limited mindset and beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of achieving.
The inner critic is an enemy, that if not dealt with, will terrorize and can destroy any aspect of our lives.
The ripple effect can be truly devastating. It will damage self-esteem, undermine confidence, threaten relationships and color how we view the world around us.
There was a time when my very compromised self worth affected who I invited into my life and how I allowed them to treat me. It also played an integral role in how I treated myself.
True self-worth is not found in the mirror, the eyes of another or in any outside thing. True self-worth comes from within.
Like a flower, it must be cultivated by our ability to nurture and love ourslves.
We must posess and use patience, compassion, kindness and empathy…internally.
Dedicated to a friend that helped me to discover and uncover my worth.