Inner Unworthiness & Self-Judgment
This is a transcription of the podcast episode #105 by the same name. Before I go into the what, I want to say this is probably one of the most common and pervasive ways of feeling – so if it helps, you are far from alone if you are feeling this way. It’s becoming more and more common, it seems. So take heart. We all share a lot more than we think we do (and this is one of those things we never talk about).
Part 1: The what
Feeling not good enough – like a failure. Like you wasted your _____; life, money, time, care, career, 20’s, 30’s, etc. Fill in the blank. This feeling of not knowing who you are – not knowing why you’re behind everyone else, why you can’t seem to build a life that makes you happy. This feeling comes with an itchy state of discomfort with self: a constant narrative of self-judgment – a voice that isolates you and makes you feel worthless. Like you need to escape social situations or at the very least have something expensive or exotic to talk about otherwise everyone will see what a loser you are. Maybe you’re one of those people who feel like their skin is crawling when they’re around happy and beautiful people: you look at other people and think – they’re so much _____er; skinnier, smarter, funnier, happier than I am. Or you think, “Everyone doesn’t like me – it’s obvious I don’t fit in.” Or maybe, “I look terrible. I am not funny. I shouldn’t be here.”
You might also have the flip-side – where you kinda hate everyone. Maybe you look around and think, “Everyone is so fake. That person thinks they look good but they have fat arms. That person thinks they’re talented but I could do better. That person thinks they’re funny and charming but they are so dumb. These people aren’t really my friends. This is such bullshit, this place/thing/xyz.”
Part 2: The Why
Well, depression for one! Negative rumination is depression symptom numero uno. If you find yourself looping through negative narratives, you are at the very least – chemically depressed. I don’t want you to tune out there – as depression can also be caused by circumstances, so we'll also explore how those circumstances can be altered. For example, you might not be a person who suffers from depression – you might be a person who had some really depressing shit happen that eventually caused them to feel depressed about it. In other words, the situation catalyzed the feelings of hopelessness and then they got trained into you because of repetition. You might think if the situation was altered, the depression would float away – which is possible. Sometimes it also requires you practice a different habit of thinking – as the negative rumination is really like riding a stationary bike of depression, in your mind. You’re doing reps.
As a rule of thumb, know that anytime you’re judging something as bad is also when you're separating from your experience of that badness and paralyzing yourself from doing anything about it. A much more average version of dissociation, it's like saying, “I am on fire. Look, I am on fire.”
When you are judging others or situations, you’re usually also judging yourself. You're in a judgy state of mind - which means, you're feeling low and insecure– not whole. Not happy and complete. We do this as a way to self-protect – it’s the ego’s way of controlling what feels dangerous and outside of our control. Pedestaling is my word from separating from self – splitting from a more immediate experience and instead analyzing. This is what we do as a defense mechanism. When we start to feel vulnerable we protect by placing ourselves on a different plain than someone else – either higher or lower. So when you catch yourself saying “they’re always so much better than I am.” Recognize – I am placing someone higher then myself.
I want you to take a moment and take a snapshot of the voices you hear in your mind - what do they sound like? Caddy teenagers? We all do something called spectatoring: the constant stream of commentary that talks about how you're going to fail, how no one likes you, etc...etc. Side note, it gets louder and more critical when your blood glucose is low, for example - at the end of a long hard day or the end of the week after many long hard days. OR after not sleeping well - like if you wake up a lot throughout the night.
At this time we are very in our heads – by default (I blame smart phones for this), instead of just being in time and present. The greek myth of narcissus fits this time in culture, well: he got fixated on his reflection and it became his whole life. This is how he died – staring at what was only an image. This is kind of how we are being conditioned – culturally and it’s not healthy or balanced. What it’s doing is making us associate the external with our inner lives– however, it’s all a ruse – a game, a simulation. It’s very attractive to us humans because it removes the intensity of immediacy. It’s easier – more passive. We are prone to more passive ways of doing things because it requires less risk – this is kind of a human inclination overall. For example, on DMV applications they made it so you have to opt-out of being an organ donor and the organ donor numbers went way up. That’s because it’s always easier to do something passively than actively – we feel less “to blame” in our own minds.
So remember to take a step back – don’t think of yourself as so important. Is it really the point of life to be a success? No. Maybe there is no point – except just to live to the best of your abilities. What I want to remind you of is YOU GET TO CHOOSE what the point of this life is. It doesn’t have to be decided for you (by your phone or people on television). Think of reality as a simulation. You can choose to engage or disengage from “the game” at any time. In my opinion, it’s better played when you curate what makes you thrive and remove what makes you feel terrible. It just takes starting from a point of conscious awareness and then making moves based off that.
Posted next... Part 3: the tools!