Before I get into the specifics, a quick reminder: You are required! You are greatly appreciated! You have something to contribute. Self-criticism is real; avoid it! We all criticize ourselves from time to time. If we make a serious mistake or error, critically reflecting on it can help us avoid making similar mistakes in the future.
However, for some people, self-criticism is more than a strategic tool; it is a way of life that causes us to be constantly critical of ourselves. The issue isn’t one of self-criticism. It is getting stuck in self-criticism that causes us to suffer.
I’d appreciate it if you went over these few strategies for dealing with self-criticism. Now is the time to read through and learn something therapeutic.
1. Anticipate self-criticism triggers
When we are overwhelmed or surprised by a situation, we often become overly critical of ourselves. For example, if your boss tells you to put that new marketing strategic idea you came up with on hold, you may be tempted to fall into a cycle of self-criticism about how you knew it wasn’t a good idea or the right time, how you should just stop bringing up suggestions like this, and so on. Many times, the people who make us feel this way do not mean what we think they mean. Keep your cool and believe that your ideas, thoughts, or words are fantastic! Recognize what causes you to criticize yourself and eliminate it immediately.
2. Remember The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule instructs us to treat our neighbors as we would like to be treated. In other words, treat others the same way you want to be treated.
It’s ironic that most people who struggle with habitual self-criticism are empathetic and compassionate toward others and their flaws. When it comes to theirs, they are so quick to dismiss or underestimate themselves. You can’t be sympathetic to others and not be sympathetic to yourself. What you do not give yourself, you cannot give to others.
So, the next time you make a mistake, catch an error, or do something you regret, ask yourself, “How would I respond if a good friend did the same thing?” Then treat yourself as such.
3. Keep a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is probably something you’ve heard of. The basic idea is to write down a few things you’re grateful for every day for a few minutes.
Aside from trying to curb or deal with self-criticism, I think this is a great practice in general. But, with one small modification, I believe it can be especially beneficial for people who struggle with self-criticism. Change it from a gratitude journal to a self-gratitude journal.
In other words, set aside some time each day to reflect on one, two, or three aspects of yourself for which you are grateful. They can be things that happen on a daily basis. Being grateful helps in general.
4. Love yourself
Loving yourself gives you self-confidence, self-worth, and makes you feel happier in general. You will feel happier and take better care of yourself if you can learn to love yourself.
When we look in the mirror, most of us see a variety of flaws and recall far too many negative experiences and failures to love ourselves. The less you love, listen to, and understand yourself, the more you will be confused, upset, and frustrated in life. When you start to love yourself and continue to love yourself more and more each day, things will gradually improve in every way. Unfortunately, loving oneself isn’t always easy.
5. Stay mindful
Mindfulness interventions are also an effective way to combat self-criticism. Mindfulness, defined as a nonjudgmental awareness of one’s thoughts and feelings, has been linked to higher self-esteem. Therapy can help people gain insight into their thoughts and feelings, and those who practice mindfulness may be able to verbally describe internal experiences, consider thoughts and emotions without judgment, focus on present events, and avoid lingering on or reacting to every negative thought. Mindfulness is thought to improve one’s ability to self-validate and challenge negative thoughts.
Self-criticism and the way you talk to yourself can bring you down. When the negative voices in your head begin to interrupt your positive thoughts, remember that this is not true. It is not your reality. It’s the limiting beliefs that have been implanted in your mind.
Don’t let your negative self-talk steal the joy from your life. This can be exhausting. Consider something that makes you happy and will put you in a good mood. You are no longer in alignment as soon as your thoughts become negative. You are now vibrating at a low frequency.
Get away from the negative voices in your head. You can learn techniques to help you make peace with your inner critic. Accept that aspect of yourself. Give it some love and consider what you can learn from it.