You deserve to stop beating yourself, being so hard on yourself, and berating yourself. You have the right to overcome your harsh self-directed behaviors – and would be honored to help.
My clinical work has led me to believe that self-criticism is a huge barrier to living fulfilling lives and benefiting from therapeutic treatment. I can have the most amazing empirically supported therapy to deliver to you, yet if you do not feel worthy — if you are overwhelmed with self-doubt, or beating yourself up in your head— how are you going to receive the benefits of the treatment? My experience working with therapy patients/clients has taught me that once we can address our habit of being hard on ourselves, being perfectionists, and being our own worst critic, all the other offerings and tools in therapy become more accessible. Even more importantly, the way we see the world shifts, and we become increasingly clear and curious.
A fast growing body of research also informs my belief. If the tendency to berate yourself is familiar to you, take a look at these two areas of research.
First, researchers have found that self-compassion is an antidote to self-criticism. I almost hesitate to use the words “self-compassion” before you meet me, since the term is a loaded one. Rest assured, however, that the principles are solid. For instance, Kristin Neff, Ph.D., is a social psychologist that has conducted many empirical studies on self-compassion. Take a look for yourself:
Next, Paul Gilbert, Ph.D. takes a brilliant evolutionary approach to discussing self-criticism and self-compassion. He shows how self-regulation and balance are achieved through soothing, resting, relaxing, and being kind to ourselves. He has published widely on how to apply Compassion Focused Therapy to a whole host of struggles people face. Here is a taste of his work: