Self-Criticism

QA180 QUESTION: After coming here for about a year and a half, I haven’t been able to ask a question, and I guess I want to ask why I can’t ask a question?

ANSWER: You know the answer to that, my dear. I do not have to give it to you. Do you really mean to say you do not know this? [Silence] Isn’t the fear of what others think and how you appear in the eyes of others so very much responsible for this? Are you not aware of this fear?

QUESTION: Yes.

ANSWER: Well, it is this concernedness, this dependency, that is still to be resolved. You have made very, very great discoveries in yourself and within yourself. You have a totally different awareness of yourself today than when you came. You know that. And you have also therefore made changes – perhaps more substantial than you may even quite realize at the moment.

You are in a state of flux and growth, where rigidities that were paralyzed in you before have begun to move within. But this dependency, this fear, this need to be approved of, this craving to be in a good light with other people, this is still very strong. It is also, on a more subtle level, responsible for your still-existing contractions. Do you follow me? {Yes} You have anything else to ask in regard to this? Why are you so concerned with others’ opinion and how you are in the eyes of others? Why, my dear? Let go. Be yourself.

QUESTION: I suppose it’s because I can’t accept what I really am.

ANSWER: Why not? What is it? Can you put your finger on it?

QUESTION: I feel a little stuck there.

ANSWER: Well, this should be gone into more. This has to be confronted, very directly confronted. Perhaps you can meditate and ask for help that your self-criticism should be more objective and more realistic; that your self-criticism not blur out your self-love and your self-respect; that you do not substitute for the lack of healthy self-love with getting approval from others. This makes you more self-rejecting, rather than less so.

Meditation, very specifically in this respect, would be very helpful. Really open up and say that this is where you want to go – liking yourself for the basic being you are, finding the true values for which you deserve to give yourself liking and respect. Then after this basic self-acceptance has been established, with the help of the deepest prayer, you can also criticize yourself justly, fairly, objectively, and without that destructiveness that immediately annihilates you when you find something distorted or negative or childish. And many others can follow this same advice.

 

QA225 QUESTION: For the past six years, I’ve worked as a designer in different areas. I can’t honestly say in that time that there’s been once that I have ever truly been pleased with my work. I always look at it with a critical eye and look for other people’s approval. And I have never been able to give myself approval or even find satisfaction in the finished product. In the work, I find satisfaction, but I even find that I tend not to look back at my work unless it’s completed to see what it looks like. I just completely cut myself off in that area.

ANSWER: The answer can be found on two levels. Although the two levels seem as opposites – the higher self and the lower self – they yet meet. Now from the lower self, this expression, this attitude, is a misunderstanding. It is a symbolic out-picturing of your self-rejection that exists really inside of you as regards your person.

But since you have mostly managed to stay unaware of this self-rejection and self-hate – although perhaps little by little you are becoming more aware of it, but perhaps more theoretically aware than experientially aware – you have to symbolize it in some way. It symbolizes itself by judging everything you do in your work. It’s never good enough. It is never enough.

So it is like you would be saying, “I am a bad person; nothing I do is good.” And it is a misinterpretation of your lower self’s self-hate. It is also a misinterpretation of your higher self’s message.

The message the higher self sends you is to tell you, “Commit yourself more specifically on your path. Do not avoid certain areas of your path, where you are more resistant than in other areas. You need those particularly strongly. Have the courage to go into them. Do it. You need it. It will be all right. Do it. I am not happy that you do not do it, for that is the purpose of your life.”

Then the conscious personality misinterprets this and puts it on the level of your output in regard to your work. It is both your higher and your lower self that give a message, and you symbolize that message on that level.

It is also not coincidental, of course, that you would symbolize this on the area of your life where you are most accomplished and not where you are least accomplished – because that way both your higher self and your lower self, each from a different motive, say it is not good enough. No matter how good, it is not good enough. Both say it in a very different climate, but they are both saying it. And then you feel impelled and compelled to produce better and better, but it can never be good enough, for it is a mischanneling of the real message.

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