Why You Are Your Own Worst Critic

“The reason that we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel” ~Steven Furtick

We only see what others want to show us.

We see all of our flaws, failures and anxieties, but none of theirs. We see our struggle and compare that to others successes.

What’s more, we are extremely proficient in highlighting our own deficits. We know our vision for a particular project, and we know how and why what we end up producing in not perfect. We focus on the flaws that only we know exist. 
The cliché that artists hate their own work comes about because they feel like they can never properly express what they envisioned in their mind’s eye. Their work is never really finished. So when they present their art, it is almost an admission of failure.

Monet’s Water Lillies ~“One day, everything would be fine, and then the next day Monet would puncture the canvass with a knife. According to Monet, he destroyed at least 30 canvasses this way. ”

Yet the outside observer sees the final product as whole.

They don’t know what the artist was attempting or where they came short. They see what is presented to them and appreciate the artist for it. Those ‘mistakes’ and ‘failures of ability’ that haunt the artist become part of their style, recognisable quirks that set them apart from the rest.

The ‘flaws’ are interpreted as stylistic choice or artistic expression — not as failure.

Unfortunately, we are forever stuck inside ourselves. There is not much that we can do to detach and zoom out from our subjective experience. Meditation and reading help, but ultimately, we are all the sum of our genes interacting with our environmental experiences up to this point in time.

Like everyone, we see the world through a unique and highly subjective lens. We are privy to every doubt, worry, fear and aberration. We are present for every failed attempt and every ‘sinful’ thought. We see our worst moments. Yet the world just sees the highlights. They see the end result derived from hours of mental anguish and thousands of self-deprecating thoughts.

They see our highlight reel.

The ironic thing is that two people could be dwelling in self-loathing, simultaneously idolising the ability of the other person to keep it together, to produce and to succeed. Both parties believing the other to be perfect, both failing to realise that they are both suffering internally.
In my mind, the only solution to this predicament is honest expression. If we can share our inner thoughts, feelings and emotions, perhaps everyone will begin to realise that they are not alone. That their mind plays the same tricks as everyone else’s and that they are being their own worst critic.
 Until we can safely open up and share our vulnerability with the world and subsequently see others’ vulnerability, we will forever live in a state of emotional isolation and self-hatred. That is why I talk about my mental state, illnesses and traumatic past. By opening up, others have opened up to me. As a result of sharing, we have both grown tremendously.

I want to share this experience with the world, and for this purpose I need your help. I have started a project called ‘Share Your Story’. It is a blog series in which I invite anyone to share their story. I want readers to get a unique perspective into the lives of other people, their inner worlds as well as their unique trials and tribulations.

I am not looking for perfect writing ability or talent, rather just an expression of raw honesty.

Given the delicate nature of the subject matter that some people will present, I am more than willing to have the contributions posted anonymously. On the other hand, I am also happy to post your picture alongside your name and contact details if you would prefer.
 I invite anyone that is interested in contributing to read more about the specifics of this project here and read some of the contributions already up!

~ Zachary Phillips

If you related to this piece, I think you would enjoy my book Under The Influence — Reclaiming My Childhood ~“A personal and brutally honest account of the destructive dynamic that a drug affected and mentally ill father can have on his child”.