Exploring Our Inner Stories: Overcoming Self-Criticism with Mindfulness

We all carry stories around about ourselves. Some of them are positive, and many of them are self critical. The self critical stories are like books that we pick up and read regularly. We focus on certain paragraphs and rehearse them over and over again until they become automatic ways of seeing ourselves. These stories can limit us and prevent us from moving towards living the life we want. Overcoming self-criticism can lead to improved well-being.

Here are a few common self-critical stories:

  • I’m a failure
  • I’m not good enough..or smart enough..or interesting enough..or tall enough..or rich enough..or any other variation on this
  • I’m a bad person..I’m a bad parent..I’m a bad friend..or any other variation on this
  • I’m not worthy of love..or joy..or happiness..or any other variation on this

Noticing those stories showing up and making a choice to put the book down is a skill. It takes practice…over and over, catching yourself picking up the book, putting it down again, and refocussing your attention on the present.

This skill is one aspect of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – a therapy we regularly apply at Oak Psychology Space.