I was the type of kid that would be disappointed in myself if I scored a 95 on a test. If I cook a meal and use a fraction too much salt or just a tad too little garlic, I feel really annoyed with myself. My own typos drive me insane. I over-analyze every conversation I have, thinking I probably said something inaccurate or offensive or irritating.
I do feel that I can do/be anything I want or need to but I don't feel like I'll ever be happy with the results.
I grew up hearing a lot of criticism disguised as support. I don't even know how to explain that... usually criticism sounds just like what it is, right??? Weird... but I think I've really internalized it & adopted this kind of inner voice that subtly disparages everything I say or do. And I just have this inner feeling of, I will never be good enough, I'm not a valuable member of my family/friendships/society...
I am not able to do those exercises where you look in the mirror and tell yourself wonderful things about yourself. I just can't do it.
I would like to be happier with myself because I think it is affecting me in other ways (in my marriage, for example, I think I am looking for external validation because I don't feel any internally?)
So how do you change ~30 years of low self-esteem???