Self-inflicted criticism can be vital to personal growth. However, while it can be constructive to harshly critique ourselves, we often don’t take into consideration the negative impact that it has. And, of those counterproductive effects, diminishing of one’s self-esteem seems to be at the forefront. Evaluating yourself in a way that is too harsh, or cruel, can weigh heavily on your perception of self. You begin to doubt your own ability, question your own judgment, and even downplay noteworthy achievements. This minimization of self-worth occurs when we misuse the constructive tool that self-critique can be and trigger the destructive monster that is known as an “inner critic”.
A critic, by definition, is one that never offers a favorable opinion of anyone or anything. By allowing our mental to act as its own critic, we are allowing ourselves to be our own attacker.
How crazy is that?!?
We seek fault in all of our actions and accomplishments, and we deny ourselves of the validation that may be much needed at times. Thus, we don’t make note of our wins and live in anticipation of our losses. This lack of self-appraisal can become counterproductive.
No one is excused from experiencing an inner critic or a negative self-image. However, we all have the ability to silence them. Assessing our criticism can be a key component in overcoming the negative impacts.
1. Identify what thoughts you are having. Relate those thoughts to positive possibilities and solutions. For example, you feel that you aren’t qualified enough for a position. So, you seek a mentor in the field, take a course on the field, etc. Note the type of critiques you keep referencing.
2.Relate those thoughts to positive possibilities and solutions. For example, you feel that you aren’t qualified enough for a position. So, you seek a mentor in the field, take a course on the field, etc. Note the type of critiques you keep referencing.
3. Note the type of critiques you keep referencing. Are you rehashing the past, replaying decisions and events that are well behind you? Are you becoming obsessed with perfection, always finding that you fall short? Do you somehow feel undeserving? Making of a note of what is menacing you can assist is silencing the critic within. Another step in this assessment is to look at how you behave around others.
4. Another step in this assessment is to look at how you behave around others. Do their accomplishments make you feel less worthy? Can you honestly celebrate their success without comparison? Can you acknowledge your own achievements, in mixed company, without minimizing your own credibility?
Once you have properly dissected your inner critic and what makes you tick, you will become more self-aware. This self-awareness will provide you with the tools to steer clear of your triggers. Thus, lessening the likelihood of negative critiques and that is the desired goal.
By no means should we stop our self-critiquing because, as I mentioned earlier, that is a major contributor in building our success stories and growing our personal brands. But, the key is moderation and knowing the difference between simply evaluating and be destructive toward ourselves.
Clap for yourself sometimes!
Incorporating compassion with our criticism gives us the most balanced perspective of ourselves. Most importantly, don’t allow your ability to self-critique to act as anything more than a constructive tool.