What to Do When You’re Harder On Yourself Than Anyone

I believe most people struggle, to some extent and at some point, with feelings of unworthiness.

“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m not lovable.”
“I’ll never be good enough.”
“I’ll never be loved.”

But what do we do with those feelings? I mean, what’s their impact on our lives? What does it actually mean to go through life having low regard for one’s self?

Most people don’t want to look at these feelings or these questions, at least not for long.

Partly that’s because they don’t seem easy to fix.

Back when I was in intensive psychotherapy in my 20’s, well-meaning people would sometimes ask, “Do you love yourself?” The question always annoyed me.

While I couldn’t quite have admitted it, the reason was because for one thing, no I didn’t love myself. Not one little bit.

And for a second thing, what exactly was I supposed to do about it??

So I hid my feelings of unworthiness behind culturally acceptable phrases that seemed somehow easier to handle:

“I’m my own worst enemy.”
“I’m harder on myself than anyone.”
“I beat myself up.”

Sound familiar? Do you say these things about yourself too? Then you might be suffering from The Visibility Wound.™

While we accept the truth of these statements – that we’re overly critical of ourselves, and that’s what’s standing in the way of getting what we want in life – we don’t dig deeper, so we don’t ever resolve the problem.

I’m certainly one of these people I’m referring to.

I’ve known for most of my life that I was guilty of being overly “hard on myself”; and I’ve even sort of known that this was the root cause of my unhappiness – the depression that plagued me for so many years; as well as what stood in the way of receiving the things I wanted like success and love.

What’s different about me is that rather than seeking a path that would allow these feelings to lie quietly dormant, I’ve made it the primary purpose of my life to heal this feeling of unworthiness.

So all of my life choices – starting with being an entrepreneur who puts herself in the public eye as a speaker and author – have had the effect of poking at these feelings of unworthiness.

In so doing, I’ve relentlessly stirred the demons of self-loathing inside me – my Rage, my Victim and my Victimizer – and have suffered terrible consequences over the years as a result. Depression, loss of family and friends, inconsistent professional success … just to name a few.

But another consequence has begun to unfold too, just this last year or so.

After all these decades of cage matches with these vicious internal parts of myself, a different force has begun to emerge victorious. Love? Maybe even self-love?

I won’t say I’m “done” yet with my unworthiness story – experience has taught me how foolish that would be.

But I do know that what I’ve learned up until this point about my own demons – my Rage, my Victim and my Victimizer – can provide valuable lessons for others.

Because another thing I’ve learned is that I’m not so different. I’m just like you, and we are both just like everyone else reading this article.

We all feel unworthy sometimes, and we all have our own special ways of punishing ourselves when those feelings flare up. (When I’m in those feelings, my demons tell me that I’m so fucked up and damaged and weird that my only recourse is to go sit in a dark lonely hole in the ground all by myself. What do you say to beat yourself up?)

But the truth is none of us are all that different, we’re really mostly the same.

We’re all worthy and lovable; and we’re also all wounded and sad.

The more we can all see that in each other – the more I can allow you to see it in me – the better off we’ll all be.

Julia KlineFor help accessing your self-limiting beliefs and working through them in a supportive environment, consider hiring me for private coaching. I offer 6-month packages starting as low as $2,500, or up to $20,000.

To start the conversation, email my assistant Rosie@JuliaKline.com. She'll send you my coaching brochure, describing all that I offer. 

What did you think?