We are often our own worst enemies. We will critique our every word and action and get stuck on all the should haves, could haves, and would haves. We have the unique opportunity to be totally aware of all the options we considered (or didn’t) before acting, and to beat ourselves up for not doing things differently. We create a cycle of anxiety about what we say and do, followed by increasing depression and poor self-esteem each time we don’t behave perfectly.
The first step to changing this cycle is becoming aware that it exists. Be mindful of your thoughts and notice when you’re being hard on yourself. The next time you find yourself in that cycle, wishing you had made a different choice and trying to mentally undo the things you said or the actions you took, tell yourself to STOP. Think about what you would say to your best friend or dearest loved one. Would you say all the things to them that you’re saying to yourself? Think about what you’d say to them, and then tell yourself that. Keep telling yourself that. If you notice that you go back to second-guessing and being hard on yourself, redirect your thoughts to kindness and compassion.
Make that a regular practice. Stop the self-belittling. Treat yourself with the kindness and compassion you would treat your loved ones. YOU are your loved one. YOU are the most important person in your life. With time and practice, it’ll become a habit. That habit will decrease your anxiety about how you interact with other people, and that can help alleviate your depression and low self-esteem. Change your view of you - change the way you experience the world.