Self-criticism is a personality trait that affects the lives of many individuals. For those who struggle with it, it may seem like a constant battle with your inner-self. Trying new things and making certain decisions can be difficult because your inner-critic always seems to be ready with a harsh critique.
“If you live off a man’s compliments, you’ll die from his criticisms.”
– Cornelius Lindsey
Overcoming negative self-criticism takes time and consistent practice. Once you learn how to silence the negative words of your inner conscious, you can begin to live your best life. Here are 5 tips to help you overcome self-criticism.
Golan Shahar, a clinical psychologist, describes self-criticism as “a tendency to set unrealistically high self-standards and to adopt a punitive, derogatory stance toward the self once these are not met.” This way of thinking may cause a person to constantly doubt themselves and have the false belief they aren’t good enough. These types of thoughts can lead to negative self-esteem, troubles in relationships, and even depression.
Self-awareness is key in dealing with self-criticism. Having experienced self-critical moments, I have learned to pay greater attention to my thoughts. This is especially important during times when I’m stressed and frustrated. If I notice my conscious becoming overly critical, I will ask myself if those negative thoughts are beneficial. Recognizing when your thoughts are becoming self-critical allows you to evaluate a situation and redirect the direction of your thinking.
Self-criticism often results when we fail to meet high-self standards. Instead of verbally attacking and viewing yourself as a “failure” when things don’t go as planned, take a moment to put the situation into perspective. Ask yourself if what you’re trying to achieve is realistic given the goal, time and circumstances. If you don’t achieve something it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. You may have to readjust your approach and make necessary changes as you work towards accomplishing your goals.
Negative thoughts and emotions only fuel criticism. Being able to identify trigger points allows you to develop positive actions when it comes to negative self-criticism. Take a moment to think of things that cause you to become overly critical of yourself. What does your criticism sound like and how do you immediately respond to it? Developing positive actions, such as deep breathing and reading positive affirmations, will help you to silence negative self-criticism.
One of the hardest things to do for a self-critic is to give oneself a compliment or praise. I struggle with this at times and it’s something that must consciously be worked on in order to overcome your inner critic. Practice telling yourself positive affirmations such as “I’m worthy of good things”, “I’m an intelligent person”, and “My life is beautiful.” Filling yourself up with positive words and repeating them will overtime quiet that pesky negative self-critic.
Life has an interesting way of turning our lowest points around to be a catalyst for our greatest triumphs. If you are experiencing significant self-criticism it can feel like you’re riding a never-ending wave of negative emotions. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to suffer in silence. If you suffer from negative self-criticism try talking with trusted family and friends. Speaking with those who love you and care about your well-being will provide you with the support you need to overcome your self-criticism. In addition, there’s nothing wrong if you need to seek professional counseling to guide you towards thinking better about yourself. Doing so will help you to approach life with a positive outlook.
Feel free to share your experience with self-criticism and ways you are overcoming it.