I must confess; I’m a bully. But not to others. I tend to bully myself relentlessly, criticizing what I do and don’t do, say and don’t say. It’s a nearly endless stream of self-denigration that runs always in the background, often in the foreground, of my thoughts. This harsh self-criticism is entangled with all types of anxiety.
Anxiety can be described as a state of agitation, a fretful condition that frays emotions, spins thoughts, and disturbs the body. It commonly involves fear: fear of failure; fear of the unknown; fear of something specific; fear of panic and of going crazy; fear of, well, a lot of stuff. The fear is naturally paired with the dreaded “what ifs.” And these worst-case scenarios are often laced with self-criticism.
Anxiety Can Make Us Too Hard on Ourselves
I have an undulating sphere of fear in my brain (that has a nasty habit of oozing everywhere and giving me and a host of other troubles) that is composed of fear of failure and fear of negative judgment by others. This social anxiety of mine makes me hypervigilant, constantly on the lookout for ways I’m failing and looking incompetent. As I interact with others, a very loud part of my mind shouts constant criticisms. In any given moment, I can spit forth a list of all of the ways I’m stupid and ridiculous.
Any type of anxiety disorder can make us harshly judgmental and negative toward ourselves. Out of fear, we become our own worst critics.