A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Our Own Worst Critics

Posted on: April 8, 2016

I tend to be more critical than I’d like, but—like many people, I suspect—I’m especially critical of myself:

  • Instead of simply cleaning up any mess I’ve made when I’ve dropped things while trying to carry too much, I’ve wished I were less clumsy.
  • When I’ve struggled with my weight, I’ve looked in the mirror and felt disgusted by my reflection.
  • And when I’ve worked and hoped for what seems unlikely or even impossible, I’m tempted to call myself an idiot.

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Because our culture warns us not to think too much of ourselves in case someone feels the need to take us down a peg, do we take ourselves down two or three?

Deep down, we know that scolding ourselves or calling ourselves names does nothing to help us change for the better.

We can take heart in reading this quote from Remade for Happiness: Achieving Life’s Purpose Through Spiritual Transformation by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen:

You will shake off your faults more readily when you love God than when you criticize yourselves.

When we criticize ourselves, we’re likely to feel small, incompetent and unable to change; when we love God, we want to walk in his ways.

We need to remember that God loves us just as we are—flawed and human—but he wants us to become more like him day by day. For some, that means learning to let go of anger and to forgive; for others, learning to stop using food, cigarettes, alcohol or other things as a way to deal with our feelings; for all of us, learning to be merciful and compassionate to ourselves.

I pray that we would grow less critical of ourselves and, in so doing, grow less critical of and more compassionate toward others.

 

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2 Responses to "Our Own Worst Critics"

We tend to complain when we are wounded. When we want to complain, let us ask God to heal us instead. Pray for full healing, body and soul. Pray often and attend the sacraments often to help get the graces for healing. At Mass, go in with the desire to be transformed, body and soul, to participate in the glorification of Jesus’ own Person through the receiving of His Person, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Pray always for healing, then bask in the health of His love and let that charity reach outward to others after it has manifested inwardly in your own person.

Prayer for Inner Healing

Lord Jesus, You came to heal our wounded and troubled hearts. I beg You to heal the torments that cause anxiety in my heart; I beg You, in a particular way, to heal all who are the cause of sin. I beg You to come into my life and heal me of the psychological harms that struck me in my early years and from the injuries that they caused through my life.

Lord Jesus, You know my burdens. I lay them all on Your Good Shepherd’s Heart. I beseech You – by the merits of the great, open wound in Your heart-to heal the small wounds that are in mine. Heal the pain of my memories, so that nothing that has happened to me will cause me to remain in pain and anguish, filled with anxiety.

Heal, O Lord, all those wounds that have been the cause of all the evil that is rooted in my life. I want to forgive all those who have offended me. Look to those inner sores that make me unable to forgive. You Who came to forgive the afflicted of heart, please, heal my own heart.

Heal, my Lord Jesus, those intimate wounds that cause me physical illness. I offer You my heart. Accept it, Lord, purify it and give me the sentiments of Your Divine Heart. Help me to be meek and humble.

Heal me, O Lord, from the pain caused by the death of my loved ones, which is oppressing me. Grant me to regain peace and joy in the knowledge that You are the Resurrection and the Life. Make me an authentic witness to Your Resurrection, Your victory over sin and death, Your living presence among us. Amen.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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