Are you your own worst critic? When it comes to goals or just everyday life, do you beat yourself up for not doing a better job? Or if you are doing something well, do you find the smallest of flaws and glaringly point them out to yourself?
Healthy self-criticism can help you learn, improve and grow, but when it gets out of hand it can be quite debilitating. Learn to silence your inner critic and stop being so hard on yourself.
Watch Your Self-Talk
We constantly have inner dialogue with ourselves and how we speak to ourselves becomes habitual. What is your self-talk like? Your thoughts probably come so fast and furious that you may not be aware of how they sound. Slow down and start to pay attention to your thoughts and inner dialogue.
Healthy self-criticism can help you learn, improve and grow, but when it gets out of hand it can be quite debilitating.
When something doesn’t go well, do you say things to yourself like, “I can’t believe I screwed up again,” or “I should have done better?” Even if you do a great job, do you get out the microscope and look for the tiniest of mistakes? If you got a 99% on a test would you criticize yourself for not getting 100%? When you find yourself engaging in this kind of self-talk, stop and catch yourself. Remind yourself that negative self-talk like this is unhealthy and it won’t make things better.
Focus on the Positive
Once you have identified the negative self-talk, the next step is to turn it around. Eliminating it altogether can be a challenge and may not be realistic. Instead try reworking those critical statements into more positive ones. Strive for healthy self-criticism and feedback rather than being so hard on yourself.
If you made a mistake or could have done better at a task, teach your inner critic to say something different. You might say, “I made a mistake again, but I continually learn,” or “I will try to do better next time.” Make it positive and see those criticisms as opportunities for growth.
Also do your best to see the glass as half full in situations. If you got a 99% on a test, congratulate yourself on mastering the material instead of magnifying the 1% you missed.
Stop Making Comparisons
Not only can we be our own worst critics, we often compare ourselves to others and really get into some negative self-talk. “Oh she’s so much prettier than me….he’s a much better speaker….I’ll never be able to compete with their talent,” and on and on. Stop making comparisons like these or you run the risk of putting yourself down.
Every person is an individual with unique talents and circumstances, so can you honestly say there is a true comparison between you and someone else? If another person inspires you to improve that’s great, but don’t use someone else as a measuring stick for your own achievements. Let you be you!
Be Kind to Yourself
Be kind to yourself instead of being so critical. Pretend for a moment that you are talking to your best friend or a loved one. How would you approach them if they felt like a failure? Would you talk to them the way you talk to yourself? Of course not! You would approach them with sensitivity, love and compassion. So why not do the same for you?
If you find yourself slipping into that negative inner critic role, stop for a moment and get out your speech that you use for others. Use those words of wisdom for yourself. Keep practicing those inner pep talks!
Continue to practice self-kindness and compassion. And be patient with yourself. You are a wonderful work in progress so there’s no reason to be so hard on yourself!