The tendency towards self-judgment is something many of us share. Those of us struggling with addictions can judge ourselves so harshly and be so critical of ourselves that we feel like we’re our own worst enemies. We might think that we are judging ourselves because we don’t approve of our addictive behaviors, but another way to look at is to see that our addictions and our self-judgment are actually linked and feed off of one another. Both our addictive behaviors and our self-judgment are part of a deeper issue, and that very often is our fear of inadequacy and unworthiness.
We live in cultures that thrive on judgment. We judge everything about each other, from our abilities and our life choices, to our personalities and our bodies. We often learn to judge ourselves from how pervasive this cultural judgment of other people is. Why do we judge other people? This is often because deep down we don’t love ourselves, we aren’t at peace within ourselves, so we look outside of ourselves as a distraction from how painful lack of self-love can be. We feel the need to bring other people down to feel better about ourselves. We are judging others because deep down we are judging ourselves. We are deeply unhappy with ourselves. In this way, judgment of others and self-judgment form a cycle where the two are related and linked and exacerbate one another.
We might have grown up in households that pitted family members against each other, based on all kinds of things – physical looks, skin color, talent, sexual orientation. We had the practice of judgment instilled in us from an early age. We saw the world through this lens of judgment and criticism, and as we got older, continued these habitual thought patterns.
These cultural and family habits that we’ve adopted very often came from individual people’s own feelings of not being good enough, and because these feelings are so common among us, they become widespread in our communities, in our media, in our general ways of treating each other. Fear of inadequacy is a common and pervasive fear in human nature. We can trace so much of our pain and dysfunction back to that one fear.
If you find that you judge yourself harshly and relentlessly, know that you’re not alone! The process of learning to love ourselves, the journey of self-love, is one so many of us are undertaking in our recovery.
Call (800) 871-5440 for more information on how we can support you.