Community Stories

Chloë’s Story: Free From Self-Critique

free from self-critique - person staring at self in mirror
This freedom means treating myself like a close friend instead of my own worst enemy.

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We can fight stigma and discover we aren’t alone by sharing our stories. Our “Free From” photo challenge is a way for you to share your story with others on social media so we can celebrate freedom together!
Learn more: liberomagazine.com/free

⚠️Trigger Warning: eating disorders, depression, anxiety, perfectionism, self-critique

What are you free from?

I’m free from self-critique.

What does ‘freedom’ mean to you?

This freedom means treating myself like a close friend instead of my own worst enemy. My inner dialogue has been a source of pain for many, many years. It’s finally time to embrace self-love and acceptance.

Share a bit of your story with us:

Since I was a kid, I’ve had ridiculously high expectations for myself. I struggled to be happy with everything from my appearance and personality to my grades and self-worth.

Part of this perfectionism fueled my eating disorder

I was diagnosed with anorexia at age 15, which consequently led to other mental illness challenges, like depression and social anxiety.

One therapist even observed, “You’re really mean to yourself.” He was right, of course. I assumed this is how everyone treated themselves (and turned out to be wrong).

Un-learning this way of thinking took time, seeming like an uphill battle that always led back to where I started.

After over ten years of therapy and many ups and downs of recovery, I can say I’m in a much better place, mentally speaking.

When I began accepting certain things about myself (like my natural body type or my innate introversion), it became a lot easier to grow and be present. Dare I say I may even feel self-love?

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How would you compare your life before finding freedom from “the opinions of others” to your life after?

Before I learned to stop being so self-critical with myself, I was constantly beating myself up with negative thoughts and beliefs. I was never good enough. My expectations were always too high. There was no level of “success” that ever made me happy.

This way of thinking was incredibly harmful and only made my mental health worse.

Now that I’m free from self-critique, I can proudly say I’ve found peace with my actions and choices.

I only wish this freedom had come sooner. It feels really great to release myself from the biggest critic in my life!

What message do you have for others who can relate?

When you change your inner voice from foe to friend, it gives you compassion to be a lot more accepting with yourself and with others.

Something I found helpful in therapy was learning how to identify those negative thought patterns and replace them with alternative, kinder thoughts.

For example, instead of thinking, “I’m a failure,” try changing that thought to “I may not be perfect at everything, but I’m only human, and I’m trying my best.” That’s much more realistic, right?

It takes work to make this shift, especially if self-criticism has been overly present your entire life, but I promise it’s worth it.

Share Your Story!

We can fight stigma and discover we aren’t alone by sharing our stories. Our “Free From” photo challenge is a way for you to share your story with others on social media so we can celebrate freedom together!
Learn more: liberomagazine.com/free

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I’m Chloë, a Canadian eating disorder recovery blogger! My passion for writing inspired the launch of my personal blog in early 2021, to create a sense of community for people going through mental illness. I know I’m not alone in my struggles with disordered eating, depression, and social anxiety, and always enjoy connecting with other mental health advocates. Besides reading and writing, I also enjoy yoga, hiking, and hanging out with my cat. You can learn more about me by visiting my website: www.chloegrande.com


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