Self-criticism to Clear Motivation in 3 easy steps

As I was working at creating clear positive intentions towards making a meaningful contribution to the health and growth of others through my coaching business, some negative thoughts started popping up, for example, “I’m not really getting better at all of this, I’m just a hypocrite, a phony, a fake, a poser.”  Here is how I have been learning to handle this type of thought effectively:

  1. I acknowledged the thought and any feelings that come with it.  For me it was a kind of pang of conscience and sting of guilt mixed in with a little anxiety and remorse.  It’s not a pleasant experience, and I have noticed a tendency to avoid it, get rid of it, or pretend to myself like it didn’t happen.  But nevertheless, it is what happened, so I accepted and allowed it.  This gave me some space to work with it.
  2. I identified any self-judgments and forgave myself for them.  For example, I said gently to myself, “I forgive myself for judging myself for not getting better.  I forgive myself for judging myself as a hypocrite, phony, fake, or poser.”  There was a sense of relief and release as I forgave myself.
  3. I welcomed any underlying wisdom or insight from this thought.  What became clear to me was how much I enjoy being a man of my word.  I felt that sense of strength that comes from living with integrity.  I felt the value of being trustworthy for myself and for others.

Even as I have been writing this, some similar thoughts have been popping into my mind.  I have been doing my best to apply this process to these thoughts.  I’m starting to see, like with any skill, practice makes perfect.  I know what is is like to try and bury and ignore these types of thoughts.  They fester into a background malaise.  They form in to a heaviness that goes counter to having focused energy and delight in living my life.  Another option is to actually believe these thoughts.  I’ve done that before too.  I’ve experienced a kind of comfort that comes from just giving-up on myself, but after a while that became too empty and dissatisfying.  As I apply this process more successfully, I experience energy building inside me, and a clarity of purpose.  Please apply this for yourself when needed!

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One Comment

  1. Kurt Kalbfleisch says:

    Thanks for the cosmic validation, man. I’d decided over the weekend that my screenplay’s hero, at the beginning of his story, finds himself paralyzed by almost exactly this kind of self doubt. I don’t know how anyone else’s creative process works, but for me, there’s very little certainty in writing, and I tend to look for seredipitous sign posts in order to stay on the right track.

    Even if I didn’t see a connection to my writing, this is a good post, and good advice. Thanks!

    ~Kurt

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