Let’s be forgiving with ourselves!

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Reviews, flagellation, blaming, we are very often our worst enemy. And if the kindness was before all by itself? Specialists encourage us to love him with tenderness.

Psychologies magazine loves the kindness, to the point of him having spent a day on 13 November, which meets each year with increasing success (see our website The day of Kindness). However, this benevolence towards the other, to which we coerce more or less voluntarily, we do admit that rarely. We are sometimes our worst enemy, we are knocking out of wickedness at the slightest misstep. “Since I’m small, I don’t forgive anything. As soon as I make a mistake, or that one of my folders is the subject of a note, I was immediately a little voice inside me murmurs that I’m zero, even if the criticism focuses on a detail, ” said Marianne, age 45, who had experienced neither failure or parents disparaging.



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For the psychoanalyst Marie-Laure Colonna, it is primarily a matter of culture: “there is only in the West that one finds such a detestation of the self. The Orientals are much less severe in their own regard! I see it as a mark of our Judeo-Christian religion, where everyone is born with original sin. Barely born and already guilty. “A heavy legacy that we carry unconsciously, believers and non-believers, and that our society of competition reinforces:” In denying us the right to be wrong, by submitting to us constantly to a quantitative evaluation, in defiance of our human dimension is necessarily more fragile, the world deprives us of our precious humanity towards us and towards others, warns the philosopher Fabrice Medal. Some think that by speaking harshly, they are going to keep a control on them, to get to the top, which is a perfect illusion. But the fear of becoming weak is nestled in the heart of this lack of compassion towards one’s self. ”

A wounded childhood?

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The self-criticism: an evil female

On the sofa in Marie-Laure Colonna, the analysis of a woman always starts with a company of restoration of self-esteem. “I am amazed to see, all social classes combined, at which point the women have a tendency to self-criticism. The men are still less likely to disparage, at least the life that is coming to their typing on the fingers, ” says the psychoanalyst. Why this difference? “The boys are still raised like little kings, then as the girls grow up more often in an atmosphere demeaning, that it does not dispute. “Where the famous” glass ceiling ” that they dare not cross at work, or wage inequality, which many consider as a state of fact, and not as an injustice.

“When my mother was giving me a compliment, she attached it immediately after a wickedness.

I never knew how to dance, but, what is sure, is that her critics have remained etched in my head, ” said Dominique, 45 years old, who are surprised to be used against her in the same words as his mother. When the parents are supposed to, we secure, we provide support, are also those whom we denigrate, where to learn to self-administer the tenderness?

“Education plays an important role in this tendency to self-torture, she participated in the building up of a superego more or less severe, says Marie-Laure Colonna. If we have had parents that are too demanding or malicious, we’re going to have a tendency to adopt their critical point of view, by a well-known phenomenon of identification.



“Sometimes, even in the absence of any remarks disparaging, we can lose this precious self-esteem. “Take the child who feels responsible for the divorce of his parents, convinced that the one who left did it because he was not kind enough: as long as he would revisit not this mistaken belief, he will continue to think wrong, to criticise,” says the psychiatrist Christophe Fauré.

Psychoanalysis turns to the past to explain this phenomenon, while some current cognitivist leans rather to a structural explanation: “everyone is born with a stock of negative thoughts. Certainly, the events of the life, the harshness of the society can reinforce this phenomenon, but they do not create from scratch, ” says Christophe Fauré. He wants to prove that this trend autodénigrement also occurs in people who are well. “As soon as you scratch a little, the world believes no one, can do better, even if we hide the other, as long as we are convinced to be the only ones to devalue as well “, he adds further.

A negative spiral

All these negative thoughts plunge us in distress, we get depressed, and they are the origin of many of the mains failure. “The one who believes what he has heard on her child will not cease to vérifi er by multiplying the behaviours that will elicit the rejection, showing him that he has a good reason not to love. It is the infernal spiral of beliefs, self vérifiantes “, explains Christophe Fauré.



For those of us who remain convinced that being hard on themselves will make them grow, they are also exposed to: “Not being capable of either gentleness or empathy towards them, they dare not launch new challenges, fear of not having enough resources to face potential failure,” stresses Fabrice Midal.

Result: we advance timidly on the path of life. Worse, we sometimes display a real brutal with ourselves in order to avoid to measure to what extent we are emotionally affected: “There is a way to blame herself quite sterile on the air of “I know, I am no one”, which primarily avoids to let himself be swept up by what happens to us. It is only by acknowledging our emotions we can begin to be benevolent, a bit like an alcoholic who must go through the acceptance of his state before considering a cure… “, advocated by the philosopher.



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