Being Self-Critical Without Demeaning Yourself

weatherThere are three main types of criticism.

The first you’ve probably experienced if you’ve ever entered a competition, applied for a job, or submitted any sort of application. This kind of criticism is used to evaluate your merits and faults in a constructive manner.

The second kind of criticism is the kind we should ignore. This criticism is too focused on the opinions and preferences of the criticizer and almost never leads to any constructive feedback.

The last kind of criticism is one that sways between being effective and being ineffective but fortunately it is the only kind of criticism we can control. This is self-criticism.

The information we receive from our own focused evaluation of ourselves can be useful for self improvement. Through this criticism we can improve, fix our mistakes, take negatives and turn them into positives. Personalized critical feedback can let us know if we are making the right decisions. In a sense, we can “check ourselves” and our “attitudes” to ensure that the demeanor we are projecting to the world is a pleasant one.

Yes, this feedback can be helpful but sometimes all we do is self-criticize.

You’re not good at this. You can’t do that. You’re too selfish. You’re too nice….blah blah blah blah blah.

When I self-criticize, my inner critic emerges and targets my every decision, scrutinizing all my actions and thoughts. It all takes its toll on my body and the task becomes an exhausting endeavor. But how do I filter through the unhelpful feedback when I’m the only party evaluating myself? How do we learn to tame our inner critic to provide criticism that we can use to better ourselves?

The first step is understanding your goals.

What are your goals? What do you want to do? Understanding what you want to achieve can make clearer what you should be working on in regards to yourself.

The second step is learning how to be critical without being mean.

A good gauge of whether or not you should be saying anything negative about yourself is whether or not you’d be willing to give the same criticism to someone else. You probably wouldn’t say to someone that they’re ugly (hopefully) just to hurt their feelings, so why would you say that about yourself?

The last step is learning how to value yourself.

Everyone has merits and has something they like about themselves. Learn to find the pieces of you, you would be unwilling to give away or unwilling to trade. Remind yourself that you have value because no matter who you are there is always another person, group, or organization that is rooting for you.

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