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  1. #1
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Default Self Awareness vs. Self Criticism

    I think too much before I speak or act, betraying a high level of self-criticism. I often become paralyzed even in one-on-one interactions with people close and familiar to me, while I furiously try to master my fear and try to shift back into a mindset that allows me to function and enjoy myself. I've written many journal entries and notes to myself on this subject, the subject of being gentle with myself and loving myself, and I know it's important, but my social and self-esteem anxiety, my constant self-monitoring, and my brooding reticence and introversion speak for themselves. I'm not doing it right.

    I'm too self-critical, and I NEED to stop.

    I think I fear that if I start relaxing my critical grip on myself, I'll somehow miss the truth of myself, overlook my glaring flaws, be oblivious, be irrelevant, be inane, and be completely out of touch. I've tried to reconcile being self-aware with being kind to myself. I know there's got to be a way to know the truth of myself while still seeing myself as good and worthy.

    So my question is, how do you take inventory and stock of yourself without being condemning or self-critical, and while still keeping your self-worth? How do you reconcile the need to improve with the need to keep your self-esteem? What does it take to have a mindset of benevolence toward yourself? For me it doesn't work to just say, "Be gentle with yourself." I need more. I need specifics.

    Can anyone relate? And does anyone have advice?
    Last edited by Mempy; 11-05-2008 at 01:19 AM.
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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    I think too much before I speak or act, betraying a high level of self-criticalness. I often become paralyzed even in one-on-one interactions with people close and familiar to me, while I furiously try to master my fear and try to shift back into a mindset that allows me to function and enjoy myself. I've written many journal entries and notes to myself on this subject, the subject of being gentle with myself and loving myself, and I know it's important, but my social and self-esteem anxiety, my constant self-monitoring, and my brooding reticence and introversion speak for themselves. I'm not doing it right.

    I'm too self-critical, and I NEED to stop.

    I think I fear that if I start relaxing my critical grip on myself, I'll somehow miss the truth of myself, overlook my glaring flaws, be oblivious, be irrelevant, be inane, and be completely out of touch. I've tried to reconcile being self-aware with being kind to myself. I know there's got to be a way to know the truth of myself while still seeing myself as good and worthy.

    So my question is, how do you take inventory and stock of yourself without being condemning or self-critical, and while still keeping your self-worth? How do you reconcile the need to improve with the need to keep your self-esteem? What does it take to have a mindset of benevolence toward yourself? For me it doesn't work to just say, "Be gentle with yourself." I need more. I need specifics.

    Can anyone relate? And does anyone have advice?
    I can relate to this. Unfortunately, I don't have any advice.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    I fear that if I start relaxing my critical grip on myself, I'll somehow miss the truth of myself, overlook my glaring flaws, be oblivious, be irrelevant, be inane, and be completely out of touch.
    so this is based out of a feeling of fear, not rationality. rationality would say that you have a knack for being self-aware, and since you are so good at it you can safely trust yourself enough not to antagonize. being self-aware is good to a point, past that even self-awareness would not easily be able to grasp how that is hurting you and, ironically, probably your image as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    So my question is, how do you take inventory and stock of yourself without being condemning or self-critical, and while still keeping your self-worth? How do you reconcile the need to improve with the need to keep your self-esteem? What does it take to have a mindset of benevolence toward yourself? For me it doesn't work to just say, "Be gentle with yourself." I need more. I need specifics.
    for me, the emotional approach wouldn't work. i would have to be objective and realistic with myself. here, being objective means that you dont assign a personal value to the different attributes of yourself, they are simply facts--some of them you can change, some of them you cant, some you may want to and some you may not. ultimately the positive or negative value to give them will not change the fact of their existence, nor will it help you change things that you cant, nor will it even help you change the things you can. being realistic means you have an accurate conceptualization of yourself... that means recognizing the positive as well as the negative, ala "i am this :sad:, but i am also this ... i am a lot of things, i am neither perfect nor am i a disaster... i am me and i like that!"

    it makes sense that when you emotionally quantify yourself, it's difficult to feel like you measure up, and that carrot is always going to be right in front of your nose. instead, try to remain realistic with who you are, but when it comes to self value, appreciate yourself as a whole... if you can learn to just like you for you, that's something that can be maintained through life's inevitable ups and downs.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MissMurder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    I think too much before I speak or act, betraying a high level of self-criticalness. I often become paralyzed even in one-on-one interactions with people close and familiar to me, while I furiously try to master my fear and try to shift back into a mindset that allows me to function and enjoy myself. I've written many journal entries and notes to myself on this subject, the subject of being gentle with myself and loving myself, and I know it's important, but my social and self-esteem anxiety, my constant self-monitoring, and my brooding reticence and introversion speak for themselves. I'm not doing it right.

    I'm too self-critical, and I NEED to stop.

    I think I fear that if I start relaxing my critical grip on myself, I'll somehow miss the truth of myself, overlook my glaring flaws, be oblivious, be irrelevant, be inane, and be completely out of touch. I've tried to reconcile being self-aware with being kind to myself. I know there's got to be a way to know the truth of myself while still seeing myself as good and worthy.

    So my question is, how do you take inventory and stock of yourself without being condemning or self-critical, and while still keeping your self-worth? How do you reconcile the need to improve with the need to keep your self-esteem? What does it take to have a mindset of benevolence toward yourself? For me it doesn't work to just say, "Be gentle with yourself." I need more. I need specifics.

    Can anyone relate? And does anyone have advice?
    The more you focus on outcomes you don't want, the more likely it is that it'll happen, simple as that. You are actually making it happen by trying desperately to prevent it.

    Focus your thoughts on other stuff for a change, and above all relax.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Simplexity's Avatar
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    Hmmm... I think its just something you have to start off trying to improve with those closest to you, who you feel will suspend judgment. I think the biggest thing is learning how to not take yourself seriously, that is when your personality really shines through. When I was much younger I used to be like that with strangers and girls in general but once I sort of just was comfortable with someone and tried to be a little bit over silly I got the hang of it.

    I think humor is an excellent tool to get over some these hurdles and barriers we face with our personality. Try just introducing your inner most thoughts in a slightly humorous way, It helps to sort of think about it like that because as get used to using humor in that way you can use it to sort of override your mind. Once your comfortable with that it is much easier to gauge sort of how others will take things and understand just how much you can express without being overly self-conscious. In essence try and use humor as a method or tool to sort of test the limits of how little you need to be self aware and how much self criticalness is appropriate. I don't think theres any sort of formula or hard rule or guidelines to follow It really is one of those things you have to figure out for yourself and it is not necessarily easy. Just another reason why I think humor is a great aid in this conquest.
    My cold, snide, intellectual life is just a veneer, behind which lies the plywood of loneliness.

  6. #6
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Not sure if this helps, but, talking to more people and interacting in new situations (e.g. extroverting) tends to make you think and operate on-the-fly, and with that you have to stop the self-critical mind loop since you don't have the time for it. Practicing that should help loosen your mind up.

    This is loosely based around what Lenore Thomson suggests when she says that a type needs to "engage its secondary function" to grow. For INxP's it's "engaging Ne," which I translate loosely as what I wrote up above. Ne snacks on new situations so stimulating it should put the Fi or Ti on the back burner for a while. Eventually your perspective changes as you find yourself exposed to new patterns of thought.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Simplexity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spirilis View Post
    Not sure if this helps, but, talking to more people and interacting in new situations (e.g. extroverting) tends to make you think and operate on-the-fly, and with that you have to stop the self-critical mind loop since you don't have the time for it. Practicing that should help loosen your mind up.

    This is loosely based around what Lenore Thomson suggests when she says that a type needs to "engage its secondary function" to grow. For INxP's it's "engaging Ne," which I translate loosely as what I wrote up above. Ne snacks on new situations so stimulating it should put the Fi or Ti on the back burner for a while. Eventually your perspective changes as you find yourself exposed to new patterns of thought.
    I agree with the Ne its probably what I use most when interacting with others, especially if I want to turn the charm on. Ti isn't very helpful unless you REALLY want advice or help with homework but I think flexing out some of your Ne humor will help you get a read on people quicker and get a read on the current emotional state easier. In social situations most of the time you have to forgo depth and it is something that I learned relatively quickly(self awareness and criticism are inherently deep).
    My cold, snide, intellectual life is just a veneer, behind which lies the plywood of loneliness.

  8. #8
    no clinkz 'til brooklyn Nocapszy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    I think too much before I speak or act, betraying a high level of self-criticalness. I often become paralyzed even in one-on-one interactions with people close and familiar to me, while I furiously try to master my fear and try to shift back into a mindset that allows me to function and enjoy myself. I've written many journal entries and notes to myself on this subject, the subject of being gentle with myself and loving myself, and I know it's important, but my social and self-esteem anxiety, my constant self-monitoring, and my brooding reticence and introversion speak for themselves. I'm not doing it right.

    I'm too self-critical, and I NEED to stop.
    Know what? I do that too.
    Well at least I'm critical of myself.

    So what do I do? I begin to dominate ass. That is, I do good shit. Or shit I've wanted to do. I basically try to impress myself. Then I become proud.
    Well it's better than continuing to get down on myself.

    Can anyone relate? And does anyone have advice?
    Do what I do.
    Do good shit. Paralyzed...
    I guess it would be hard. So what? Lots of stuff is hard. Do it anyway.
    At least distract yourself.

    Or maybe I don't know what I'm talking about... I don't think I'd make the best counselor.
    we fukin won boys

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    how do you take inventory and stock of yourself without being condemning or self-critical, and while still keeping your self-worth? How do you reconcile the need to improve with the need to keep your self-esteem? What does it take to have a mindset of benevolence toward yourself? For me it doesn't work to just say, "Be gentle with yourself." I need more. I need specifics.

    Can anyone relate? And does anyone have advice?
    Too much introspection (yes, and coming from me).

    It's important to enjoy yourself. Acknowledge what makes you happy, what makes you laugh, what you want... And tend to it!

  10. #10
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    It's tough. Sometimes I get to a point where I get in touch with how much stress I'm under without seeing it as a flaw, like a friend was confessing their problem to me. Once that happens, the compassion floodgates open by themselves. But that's a little bit rare. Recently, I've just been trying to be aware of what's going on in me, in my body, and in my feewings, without trying to improve anything. I see that as kind of a prerequisite to self-improvement. If you know what's going on, you know what you need, and you can give it (kindness, a break, a distraction, a pep talk, whatevs) to yourself. But you need to see it first. Constantly judging it (which can be really subtle, even saying "I have to improve this right now" or "I have to 'fix' this") creates distance between you and your experience.

    That's a little bit theoretical, though, and you asked for something practical. I'd say: (1) take a one-week break from self-improvement. Be a little sloppy and careless and see what happens. When you get the urge (and you will) to "fix" yourself, just notice it. Even get a little annoyed by the constant messages you're sending yourself. See what happens. Don't worry so much classic self-improvement -- this is self-improvement. Paradox? (2) When you get into a really tough situation, like a social situation, and you notice that you've "shut off," acknowledge it objectively, like a scientist, and just do your best to cope with the situation as best you can. There's no penalty for making a mistake, because that's expected. For example, you're talking to someone and you shut down, you might think "okay, I'm feeling really tense and worried that I'm tense and quiet...[or "I'm babbling a million miles an hour"]...what's something that would improve this situation?" Maybe it's you asking "how's school?" or saying "sooooo..." or just giving yourself permission to be quiet. Maybe you'll laugh at the whole thing. Who knows. You'll get better with practice. You're just doing your best; it doesn't have to be perfect. This last part is most important. It's an attitude you can practice all day, especially when you're not in a tense situation.

    There's other stuff you can do too, but I think that based on what you've said, that's a good place to start. It could even be enough. *shrug*

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