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?