How many times have you been your own worst critic? I’m guilty of it myself and everyone that wants to be better than they were yesterday might fall into this from time to time. It can be healthy to reflect on behavior so we can improve it or make changes. But more often than not I observe many people who are critics in unhealthy ways. It normally falls into a number of categories. Below you will see the 7 categories and if you find yourself fitting in one or more of them it is time to do something about it.
- Instatrend Iggy: As a Instatrend Iggy keeping up with the latest trends is a must. You often compare yourself to photos you see on social media and judge your own appearance in an unhealthy way from those comparisons. You follow the latest workouts, exercises and wear the clothes that all the famous fitness models are seen in. Diving head first into the newest diet to lose that last 10 pounds, making sure everything is gluten and dairy free, and always bouncing back from being a Vegetarian to ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ is not uncommon for Iggy.
- Critical Christy: The ultimate nit-picker. You change clothes at least 4 or 5 times in the morning because your weekend meal made you gain 2 pounds. You will rarely notice anything positive about yourself. After losing 20 pounds and 4 pants sizes you will still tell everyone that your arms are too fat and that your love handles aren’t improving. You will quickly judge and criticize yourself before anyone can get a word out. Any perceived flaw sends you into an immediate ‘self-improvement session.
- Control Freak Cathy: You can’t get the over achiever in you under control. You never seem to have time to get everything done on your to-do list because things keep piling up at work or at home that get in the way of your ideal life and success. Often times you forget to eat because you are so ‘busy’. When the stress of life hits hard you control your emotions with food and held captive to the ‘hell with it’ affect and tell yourself that you will start over on Monday.
- Perfectionist Patrick: Name it, you got it. You exude confidence, always look put together, and everything seems to come easily and effortlessly to you. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. While you may ‘have it all’ on the outside, on the inside, you’re wilting. Why? You never feel "good enough" and are constantly striving to reach your super high standards when it comes to diet, exercise, appearance, etc.
- Blaming Betty: Whether you did anything or not, you are always blaming yourself for everything. If you are constantly saying things to yourself like, “Why did you do that?” or “I can’t believe I did that?” or “What were you thinking?” you might held hostage to Blaming Betty. Coping with your perceived failures by using food as a coping mechanism is not unheard of. More often, you restrict food intake as a way to punish yourself.
- Self-Doubting Steven: Steven is very indecisive and plagued with self-doubt and low self-confidence. When you do something, the doubts immediately come in. What will seem like a small decision to someone else is a major one for you and you will knock your head over coals thinking about it. Simple nutrition and exercise choices are a nightmare because you are always second guessing whether you should or shouldn't be doing high reps and low weight or a high fat/low carb diet.
- Terrified Timothy: Timothy takes everything personally. Even when constructed criticism is given properly, you will take it to heart. If things don’t go your way you feel like you failed. The fact that your experiences are shaping you into a much better manager and each and every time you make a mistake is just an opportunity to do things better next time never appears in your conscious. You will often turn to food as a coping mechanism as a way to deal with your perceived failures or workout 2 times a day to wear yourself out so you don’t have to deal with the stress.
So what do you do if one (or more) of these critics is true for you? These are some easy tools to put in place to change that inner critic:
- Figure out where these beliefs came from because often times they are from experiences in childhood that you never addressed as an adult.
- When you feel yourself sliding into that critic, sit and think rather than just acting on your feelings. Sometimes taking a step back and reflecting can do you some good.
- Practice self-forgiveness. Old wounds can open back up like a scab that never healed when not treated correctly. If you happen to fall back into those hold habits, forgive yourself and just get back on the horse.