Are We Our Own Harshest Critics?

scroll of doom

Our own harshest critics: judgement

I’ve heard the J word so much since becoming a mum, and have often felt that other women think I’m judging them for their choices. That I’m some kind of supermum that has it all sorted, and by default that means I look down at what they do.

First of all, helllloooooo, have you read my posts about sleep deprivation, meltdowns and bedtime-maggedon AKA the witching hour? I ride the highs and lows of motherhood just like everyone else.

Our Own Harshest CriticsSecond of all, I’ve had way too colourful a past to judge other people.

I have come to the conclusion that it is their own insecurities making them feel this way. My choices have very little to do with it. Let me give you some examples…

Our own harshest critics: cooking from scratch / clean eating

As I’ve mentioned before, I have suffered with food sensitivities all my adult life,  and was diagnosed with Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) when I was 26. Cutting out processed carbs, dairy products and refined sugars from my diet led to me falling pregnant naturally, and by accident, even after two different doctors told me I would need fertility treatment when the time came to start a family.

I believe wholeheartedly in nutrition, and using it as a way to heal the body and mind. I’ve been following the all-natural GAPS diet for over a year now, which has had a dramatic effect over my wellbeing. Not to mention the fact that I can now tolerate foods that were bringing me out in rashes after eating them previously.

GAPS is working for me, but it’s exceptionally restrictive in comparison to what most folk eat. I don’t think any less of others for not doing the same though, what you eat is up to you. If my gut health wasn’t in such a state I wouldn’t have to do diet as drastic as GAPS. It’s certainly not my first choice.

Our own harshest critics: breastfeeding

I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed, and feel very fortunate that I have managed to do so. Being as intolerant to dairy as I am it was never on my radar to give my babies formula which is essentially made from cows milk. Here’s the thing though, I genuinely do not care how anyone else feeds their baby, as long as the baby is getting fed.

There’s so much breast-bashing that goes on, which is unnecessary and unhelpful. This is how I do things in my family because it works for my family. End of. I don’t go shoving the ‘breast is best’ mantra down people’s throats, and personally, I have never heard of a breastfeeding woman doing this. I use boobies as an ace card when I’ve run out of other ideas, which probably isn’t the done thing at all.

Our Own Harshest CriticsOur own harshest critics: baby wearing

After my son was born I realised pretty quickly that if I were to get anything done, I would need to have him in the sling where he could eat and sleep when he pleased. We also had a double buggy which the girls would go into, and (gasp) still do if we need to do a lot of walking and little leggies get tired.

I could convince myself that people are staring at us thinking ‘that child is too big for a buggy’, but deep down I know that they aren’t, and it’s my own internal voice torturing me. Mummy guilt is an absolute bitch though, isn’t it?

Are you being judged?

Next time you feel that you are being judged, take a step back, a big deep breath and ask yourself whether the person doing the judging is actually you.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that we are often our own harshest critics. We complain about the lack of sisterly solidarity, but beat ourselves up over the tiniest of things.

In the great words of Queen Elsa of Arandale, LET IT GO!

Apparently if you like yourself in this day and age you are in the minority, which makes me sad, because unless we truly like ourselves, how on earth can we expect to walk past the mirror without being judged?


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36 thoughts on “Are We Our Own Harshest Critics?

  1. Ahhhh yes we are are own worst enemy. I wish a few more of us would get together and make choice the champion for all women. Wherever a child is safe and happy is good enough for me. Mel xx #AllAboutYou

  2. As long as we all do the things that are right for ourselves and our family, we can only be doing it right. I worry and get anxious every day as to whether I am making the right choices, but that leads to unhappiness. Now we go with the flow and are much happier for it.

    Great post, thanks so much x

  3. I agree that the biggest critical voice is often inside one’s own head. There was a great video clip circulating on facebook a while ago (I think it was by Dove?) which showed women speaking out loud the thoughts that they beat themselves up with, it was very eye opening. We say harsh things to ourselves that we would never say to others. Great post.

  4. Ooh yes I definitely agree with Caroline that it can become a vicious cycle when we start off by misreading the signs. I do sometimes read posts by people saying “everyone was staring at me” and I wonder if that was really the case. I also think it’s double hard for shy people who can easily come across as aloof and then genuinely be shunned as being ‘up themselves’ – we do judge ourselves but sometimes others can judge too quickly as well (reminds me of that old saying “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you” 😉 thanks for linking up Ren Xx #thetruthabout

  5. Fab post Renee, I have been so guilty about worrying what other people think in the past, but I don’t know if it’s an age thing but the older I get the less I seem to care. That’s not to say I’m always right, I’m not, I seem to feel a little more confident with being able to admit I’ve made a mistake. xx

  6. Great post hun. We are our harshest critics and the amount of times I have thought i may be being judged; I actually probably wasn’t!! Every mum and person does things differently and we just need to own it!! Xx #thetruthabout

  7. I always feel a bit vain or immodest saying it, but I do like/love myself! All the things that have happened in my life have given me such a different view on things, and an appreciation of life and of myself and all the people I love. Plus I have developed a lot more empathy for others over the years.

    It does fascinate me why some people seem so preoccupied with other peoples live and with putting others down, but most of the time we imagine that others are looking down at us or talking about us, when it just isn’t the case. This is a great post and hopefully it’ll remind people to actually forget about what others think, and have a good look at the wonderful person they actually are! 😉 x

  8. I think this might be my all time favourite post of yours Renee, and you know I’ve loved them all because you’re so right and wise and lovely with it all.

    I think everyone else is far too busy with their own lives to care about mine and my choices but I stand by those choices, they are what make me, me. I think the key is to love yourself as you say and surround yourself with good energy, people that truly ‘get’ you and don’t make you feel hard to love (nicked that last bit from Pinterest)-I know I’m committed to that and working on being kinder to myself.

    I hate bitchiness yet I see/hear it a lot from others and all it makes me think is how much trust I’ve now lost for those being judgemental and rude.

    When we are happy with ourselves or 95% of the time let’s say (ie not when it’s PMT time for me) I feel untouchable, that I have strong family and friends supporting me and I feel strong within. Let the haters hate, never worry a dot about them and keep being fabulous, because you are x

  9. So true, I know I’m my own worst critic & often judge myself when I get stressed while out with the kids if I feel I’m losing control over the situation. It can be quite exhausting can’t it? Judging ourselves & finding ourselves wanting? It’s all of those eyes on you I get so flustered, inside I do anyway. Lizzie XO

  10. well said, I feel like I am being judged alot, but I alot of it is in my head, thinking I am being judged and feeling guilty for silly things, that in reality people probably aren’t even thinking about at all.

  11. Oh blimey Renee I’ve spent so long judging myself. I now try really hard to be mindful of making better choices, and reflecting where I have little choice over what happens. Judging myself was taking up way too much energy. Oh yes, let it go. Reading that those of us who have come around to liking ourselves are in the minority makes me feel rather sad…life’s too short. Fab post lovely xxx #TheList

  12. You are so right here. Judgements are so valuable because they tell us about ourselves both when we are judging and when we feel judged. Feeling judged doesn’t mean that the thing you feel is true but it does mean it is a fear held within. Looking at those can teach us about who we are and we can grow from it. Fab post.

  13. Well said Renee – I think we often are our own strongest critics (I know I am) and I strongly believe we do need to love ourselves with all our faults and be proud of who we are and how far we’ve come. Everyone has things that they’d like to change about themselves but if we all took a moment to FORGIVE ourselves and accept what we can’t change I think we’d (and I’m including myself in this!) be happier x

  14. Love your epic comment, thanks Maddy 🙂 I’m glad to hear that you also like yourself, maybe we should start a movement….ooooh there’s an idea xxx

  15. I think parenting – esp breastfeeding and baby wearing – will always create sides and that in turn makes people super defensive of their choices…which is ridiculous because the very fact that we’ve given it so much thought clearly means we’re all doing our best by our kids xx

  16. I feel sad that you’ve had to explain yourself and your choices, well, that you’ve felt the need to anyway. Why should you have to do that at all? Your choices are just that, yours. Everyone has an opinion she it comes to parenting, but no one has it nailed. You do what’s best for you and your family and what is necessary to survive those early years.

  17. Really pleased to hear that you’ve relaxed the mummy guilt lovely, it really doesn’t help. We should be congratulating ourselves more 🙂

  18. Very true Suzanne, we must be kinder to ourselves and each other in front of the kids. My hubby and I are guilty of bickering too much at the mo which is not good xx

  19. I definitely think this is something we all need to get better at Renee. How can we expect our kids to like themselves if we aren’t modelling that behaviour? I know that I judge myself far too harshly. In fact I had this very conversation with a friend yesterday! Great post. x

  20. Great post!. I do think that there are some who judge but overall we are indeed our very own harshest critics. Even when we are judged, it’s our insecurities probably that allow us to feel judged. If we were more confident in ourselves, then even others judging us would feel like water off a ducks back. And we all feel that mummy guilt but I am happy to say I am getting much better at not beating myself up over every little thing.

  21. So true! I completely hamstring myself sometimes by getting fixated on what other people think about me or my choices, when the reality is they probably couldn’t care less. With parenting in particular it seems there is no way to win – I’m generally secure in the choices I’ve made but still feel that shiver of doubt when I come across someone who’s done things differently. And on the flip side I sometimes get the feeling that other people think I’m judging them, just because of the choices I’ve made – especially around breastfeeding and babywearing. Great post. So much so that I’ll even forgive you for putting Let It Go in my head!! xx

  22. Love this post Reneé, I was nodding along. I find myself thinking ‘what will they think of me?’ in all sorts of situations and then have to tell myself I’m being silly. And I say this from the perspective of someone who – shock horror – does actually like herself. No matter how secure you are there are always the voices of self doubt and you’re right that judging ourselves often makes us feel judged as we project our own feelings onto others.
    Of course some people ARE judgemental though. We just have to remember that that’s their issue and not ours. And if we feel ourselves getting a bit judgemental (frankly, I think it’s in most of us) to give ourselves a bit of kick up the bum. A kindly kick mind as judging ourselves too harshly only adds to the cycle! Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting – you’ve made me think (as you can tell by the epic comment!) xxx

  23. Great post Renee and so true – so much judgement comes from within, although not to say that others aren’t a bit judgy pants at times too – probably because they too judge themselves!

    I’ve come a long way in the self confidence stakes over the years but still have my moments more frequently than I’d like! We really are our own worst critics…

  24. You have put this so well. People are so quick to be defensive about things, without stopping to really thinking about why they are feeling that way in the first place. It’s such a waste of energy, lets all accept each other’s and our own choices and move swiftly on as there really is nothing to see here!

  25. Absolutely brilliant post. That fine line of trying to be confident about your own choices – to walk your own talk – and how others can decide to interpret that unfairly as a judgement on *their* choices – that stuff is sooo hard. We all have our struggles, without wasting energy on judging other mothers! I agree a lot of the judgement we feel is internal, but I also think society is way to harsh and quick to judge women in general, and mothers in particular.

  26. I think we all worry about being judged, but I also suspect that you’re right and most of the judgement is in our own minds, not others. And, as others have said, most of us are really too busy with our own lives to be judging others. It is terribly sad that we all feel the judgement though, as yes, it would be wonderful if we could be more comfortable in ourselves.

  27. Totally agree Renee. I used to care a lot about what people think of me/what I’m wearing now but nowadays I realise that the majority are far too busy dealing with their own lives to notice too much/overly care. And if they’re not… too bad! #whatimwriting

  28. Brilliant post and completely agree that we are often our own harshest critics and that more often than not, when we feel we are being judged, it is just our own insecurities speaking to us rather than us actually being judged. I often worry that other people think badly of me and hubby continually has to remind me that people are generally too busy with their own affairs and probably aren’t thinking any of the things that I tell myself they are x

  29. Yes, I think you have a point about the actuality of judgement coming from inside ourselves. And I think there’s another modern pastime that many people like to indulge in-that of ‘not liking themselves’ and ‘not being happy or fulfilled’. It’s a modern complaint I think. Not wishing to make light of these things, but it’s not acceptable to be happy with ourselves and comfortable in our own skin in today’s society. it’s a shame. I say this from the perspective of one who would love nothing more than to feel comfortable too.

  30. This is a fab post. I’ve struggled a lot over the years worrying about what others think about me and I know it’s because my own self worth was damaged in the past. I’m working hard on this and blogging has certainly opened me up to more scrutiny and to more self doubt but I’m learning not to worry as much. I too am far from perfect and I try not to worry if people think this. I am trying to do what Taylor Swift says, Shake it off, shake it off.

  31. Fab post lovely and I do agree for the most part and we do think we are being judged more than we are.. most mums aren’t as judgemental as we think they are and those who are judgemental are probably just insecure in their own choices. The problem is that feeling judged leads people to feeling defensive which means they judge others in return and its a vicious cycle really! Great post and we do all need to be more confident in our decisions, not sure how we achieve that though! Xx

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