I was asked the other day if I thought I was particularly critical of myself...without hesitation I quickly responded, "well ya! Isn't everybody?" This person then prompted me to answer a different question that was extremely difficult for me to answer and for reasons I didn't understand at the time; they asked, "if you were to rate yourself, on a scale of 1-10, how good are you at what you do?"
I quickly processed through the many "hats" I wear (wife, mother, friend, designer, blogger, influencer, etc) and I began to analyze myself. I thought about the many things that I did well as a mother, and the strengths I possessed as a wife; I mentally sifted through my role I have as a designer, then blogger, and influencer and as I did so, I noticed that my self-criticism quickly turned into self-hating. I no longer began to see myself for all the positive attributes that I possessed but all the negative ones.
Although I was noticing these conflicting feelings, I confidently answered the question, "I'd say I'd probably rate myself as a 6 or 7." And as the words spilled out of my mouth, I knew I was only kidding myself.
You see...I've always prided myself in being extremely "coachable," I've learned throughout my life how to take criticism and how to use it to propel me forward. But when it comes to self-criticism, I've had a hard time not propelling myself right off the deep end.
I couldn't stop thinking about that conversation and why I had so foolishly answered that question...why couldn't I just be honest with how I saw myself? Why did I feel like I had to "butter myself up" in order to appear "less-critical" of myself?
It's true, I think I'm a great mom; I think I do a lot of things really well. And I don't say that braggadociously...I say it confidently because I take my roles in life very seriously. But in the same breath, I could say that I believe there are many aspects of my life that I do very poorly at.
For example: encouraging my husband; I think it is 10 times easier to praise my husband on social media than it is to his face. What would my husband prefer? Probably that I encourage him in the privacy of our own home. Why? Because he's a private guy and doesn't love the attention of others. Does the knowledge of that make it any easier for me to perform that simple task? No. Because for me, writing words down is much easier for me versus taking all that I'm feeling and "selling" it on the spot; It loses its meaning and value in my eyes. But in his, it doesn't. So knowing that causes me to feel like I'm failing in a sense because I can't always be the "cheerleader" that he needs me to be, and even when I try, I feel my efforts are weak or "less authentic" because they don't come as naturally.
Another example: I look up to a lot of women in my life and a lot of those women happen to come from social media. I follow a lot of women on instagram because I feel a connection to them, whether they be great communicators, motivators, teachers, mothers, wives, etc. And a lot of times, I feel extremely challenged and inspired by these women to be better than I am. But just as quickly I can begin to compare myself to those same women and deceive myself into believing that I need to be something that I simply am not. I know this is wrong, I can think that it's wrong while I'm having these thoughts but it doesn't negate the discouraging feelings I'm allowing myself to have towards myself. These poisonous beliefs can lead to all sorts of self-hating thoughts, which in effect, can cause me to lose sight of who I am, and who God really called me to be.
I'm not looking for solutions to these "problems" listed above, I'm simply trying to exemplify how easily self-criticism can turn into self-hating. And some times that line is blurred, it's hard for us to decipher between the two. I know I constantly struggle with this very thing.
We each have own calling on our lives and I think we easily forget that simple fact. God didn't design us to all the be same. He designed us to walk in confidence the path that He chose for US. Not for her, not for him, but YOU! I'm learning each day what that looks like for me and redirecting my thoughts to my story and what sets my story apart. Because my story isn't going to look like Joanna Gaines' story, no matter how much I want it to :) We may have similar qualities and strengths, but we weren't designed for the same purpose and often times I lose sight of that very detail. I have my very own specific purpose and I may not live every part of my life perfectly but from this moment forward I want to live my life with the intention to live with purpose, love, and surrender; to look at self-criticism with respect to myself and take each struggle and use it to plant something beautiful.
You are your own worse critic, but make sure you're not allowing that criticism to define who you are or what you're going to become. Use it to make yourself great and enjoy the story you get to create along the way.
Thank you so much for reading! I cannot tell you what joy it brings me to have you here!
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