Start, Stop & Change: criticizing yourself

Years ago I heard a quote from Louise Hay that stopped me in my tracks—her words sparked one of those lightbulb moments.

Here’s what Louise said:

“You’ve been criticizing yourself forever and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” —Louise Hay

Does that land for you, too? Have you been criticizing yourself forever?

  • Criticizing how you look or where you are in your career.
  • Criticizing past decisions or how you are with money
  • Criticizing what you say and do.
  • Criticizing your too muchness or not enoughness.

Have you seemingly forever been finding fault and disapproving of yourself?

And has it worked?

Has criticizing yourself for not being organized made your organized? Has criticizing yourself for not meditating every day made you a daily meditator? Has criticizing yourself for how you look or dress actually worked?

While I don’t know the details of your self-criticism—because it’s different for all of us—I do know how self-criticism makes a person feel, which is some flavor of negative emotion.

When you find fault with yourself, you don’t high vibe. When you disapprove of how you look or act or talk or walk—when you disapprove of yourself—you do not feel good.

When you criticize yourself, your flavor of negative emotion might be disappointment or frustration or anger. When you criticize yourself, perhaps you feel the emotion of insecurity or unworthiness.

I’m sure we would all agree, none of those emotions you experience when you criticize yourself feel good. They are all bad-feeling emotions.

When you criticize yourself and feel negative emotion, that negative emotion is your vibration.

In other words, the vibration you are offering—to which Law of Attraction responds—is disappointment or frustration, insecurity or unworthiness.

As we follow where that leads, what do you imagine you attract from a vibration of disappointment in yourself? More to feel disappointed about. What do you suppose you attract from a vibration of insecurity? More to feel insecure about.

So let me sum all that up: When you criticize yourself, you feel negative emotion. When you feel negative emotion, you attract more into your life experience that matches that negative vibration.

Like I said, criticizing yourself is bad for manifesting.

So let’s turn our attention to all that self-criticism that is causing you to feel bad.

I want you to think about aspects of yourself you would like to be different. Aspects that you have been criticizing.

  • You may want to stop procrastinating or be more patient.
  • You may want to stick to a budget or be more assertive.
  • You may want to regularly use your gym membership or be a better listener.

Those are all perfectly beautiful desires.

The way to what you want, however, is not through the low vibe path of criticism. Instead, the way to what you want is through the high vibe pathway of approving of yourself.

Many think they have to criticize themselves to change.

That the only way they will change is to be hard on themselves, to take themselves to task, to feel bad about themselves in the false belief this will spark the growth or change they are wanting.

And so they criticize themselves.

Through the lens of Law of Attraction, this is an incredibly flawed approach. Why?

Because you don’t berate yourself to better feelings. You don’t motivate yourself through dislike and blame and reproach.

Finding fault with yourself feels bad and will only attract circumstances and conditions that match the essence of that vibration.

Let me say it another way: If you disapprove of yourself, you will attract more into your life that’s on that same energetic level—so, in other words, more to disapprove of.

Maybe the focus of that disapproval will continue to be yourself or perhaps you will notice more and more in your life, in your relationships, in other people that are of that same essence of disapproval.

If you are criticizing yourself—regardless of the focus of that criticism—you are attracting more of the same vibration.

Another way to say it: Criticism begets more to criticize.

I do not criticize myself anymore.

Does that mean I’m perfect? Of course not! Does that mean there aren’t aspects of myself where I would like to change and grow? No, it doesn’t.

And yet, I do not—will not—criticize myself.

When I notice an aspect of myself I would like to be different, I fully focus on the different I am wanting. I shift my focus from unwanted to wanted. Rather than have a flaw-fault-criticism perspective, I choose a perspective that is about my desire for growth and change.

That might not seem like a big difference, but it is vibrationally.

If I have flaw-fault-criticism perspective, I’m going to feel negative emotion. On the other hand, If I have a desire for something new about myself and in my life, then my desire feels good. I feel positive expectation and enthusiasm. I feel excitement and hope and empowerment.

When I’m looking at myself through the lens of acceptance and appreciation, I’m feeling positive emotion. And it is from that good-feeling state that I can attract and create the change I desire.

Here’s an example: I sometimes get irritated when service is slow. Could be service in a restaurant, customer service on the phone, service in a retail shop.

Rather than focus on the unwanted about myself—I get annoyed when service is slow—I focus on what is wanted. Which is my desire is to be unconditionally aligned. As in, to not have conditions on my alignment.

  • When service is fast and efficient, I am happy.
  • When service is slow and inefficient, I am unhappy.

That is conditional alignment. That is relying on conditions to be happy, to feel good.

My desire is not to focus on this unwanted aspect of myself and criticize and find fault with myself.

Which might sound like: I’m so impatient. I get irritated so easily. I should be better than this. Why am I so uptight about slow service?

And so the internal dialogue of self-criticism begins.

But I know I’m not going to create the change I want from the low vibe of criticizing myself. Beating myself up for my impatience and irritation will only attract more that aligns with the vibration of impatience and irritation.

In those moment, rather than believing self-criticism is the only option, I consciously, intentionally, deliberately choose to believe approving of myself is the way forward to everything I want.

After all, self-criticism is not self-love. And love is the highest vibration there is.

My internal dialogue when I approve of myself sounds like this: I love that I want to be unconditionally aligned. I really appreciate wanting to show up differently when external circumstances are not as I would prefer. I love feeling empowered to choose how I think about this situation, which, of course, will determine how I feel. I’m a work in progress and always will be and that’s more than OK. In fact, it’s the whole point of being an ever-growing, ever-expanding being.

Take stock of where you are on this. Do you believe: I can only change x,y, or z about myself if I criticize myself? Are you thinking: It is by finding fault with myself that I will be better or different?

Is that what you believe?

Remember what Louise said: “You’ve been criticizing yourself forever and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

This is a paradigm shift for many of us.

If you’ve been believing the way to self-improvement or the changes you want to make in your life is through criticizing yourself, then a mindset shift is called for.

If you’ve been believing the way to change is by being hard on yourself and feeling bad about yourself, then this is a whole new approach.

It’s really very simple. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.

What does approving of yourself mean?

  • It means encouraging yourself and focusing on things you like about yourself.
  • It means acceptance of yourself exactly as you are even as you have desires to grow and change.
  • It means focusing on positive aspects and appreciating yourself.

You can make it really simple by seeing these as two pathways going in very different directions.

At any given moment, you are standing at the crossroads. Are you going down the path of criticizing yourself? Or will you choose to go down the path of approving of yourself?

I love Louise’s simply advice to try the later and see what happens. See what kind of magic starts happening in your life when you live in the energy of approving of yourself.

It’s this simple: Criticizing yourself feels bad. And feeling bad is bad for manifesting.

Approving of yourself feels very good, indeed. And feeling good is oh-os-good for manifesting.