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Throughout our lives, we keep questioning ourselves and are quick to point out our flaws and mistakes. The inner critic, in most of us, is certainly relentless and we tend to find faults with everything we do despite doing things to the best of our abilities. It certainly doesn’t manifest well. And so, it is important that we overcome self-criticism.
While some people realize their self-criticism at times, others are not even aware that it is so ingrained in their minds. Such people simply accept it as part of their nature. However, the truth is that it can be harmful and counterproductive. It not only prevents us from taking risks and trying new things, it also undermines our confidence and self-esteem. Hence, if you wish to achieve your full potential, our inner critic needs to be silenced.
It doesn’t mean that we end up ignoring our faults and trusting that they don’t exist, but one should just acknowledge them without allowing them to control our lives. If you do that, it would open up a world of possibilities because when we compare ourselves unfavorably to others, it only leads to intense self-doubt and negative self-talk.
Nonetheless, self-criticism persists to be a common problem that many people struggle with. If left unchecked, it can take a toll on our mental and emotional health, and even lead to depression and anxiety. When it is constant and harsh, one can lose sight of their strengths and achievements, giving ourselves no chance to succeed.
The first step to stop it is to become aware of your self-critical thoughts. Once you’re aware of them, you can start to challenge and re-frame them. For example, if you’re thinking, “I’m such a failure,” try to counter it by saying something positive too, like “I made a mistake, but I’m still a good person.”
While it takes a lot of time to practice and change the way we think, here are a few simple ways to overcome self-criticism:
It’s easy to focus on your failures, but try to take a step back and really think about all of the things you’ve accomplished. Make a list of everything you’re proud of, no matter how small it may seem.
Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. Would you tell your friend that they’re worthless because they made a mistake? Of course not. So why do you talk to yourself in a derogatory way?
It means being gentle and understanding with yourself, even when you make mistakes. It’s okay to be imperfect. We all are.
Don’t dwell on past failures or compare yourself to others. Just focus on what you’re doing right now and what you can do to improve in the future.
Self-criticism can often lead to inaction. But if you take small steps towards your goals, you’ll start to see progress and feel better about yourself.
If you find that you can’t overcome self-criticism on your own, seek professional help from a therapist, who can help you identify the negative thought patterns that keep holding you back.
Start making these changes today and watch as your self-criticism starts to fade away. Do not forget you are worth way more than you give yourself credit for.