I interact with some people who continually beat themselves up. (When I served on a suicide hotline I would encounter people who deliberately cut themselves, or took pills, or held a gun.) They beat themselves up about what they should have said or didn’t say, about making a mistake, about missing an opportunity, about not being as good as someone else (or their own aspirations).
Knock it the hell off. Yes, this is caused by poor self-esteem, and guilt, and fear—yardda, yadda, yadda. But let’s deal with the effect on this occasion, rather than those causes. When you start talking this way (e.g., “Why do I sound so stupid in a business meeting?”: “Why am I so uncreative in my writing?”) simply shut the front door.
Ask people around you to stop you and, instead of showing commiseration, tell you to shut up because you’re boring. Have your coach or partner tell you that you’re just pitiful when you talk like that.
We can always find the root cause of a fire, but it’s very helpful to first put out the flames.
© Alan Weiss 2016