Self-criticism is a devastating habit for many people. It’s not victimless behavior, either. Although a healthy dose of self-criticism can drive improvement, an excess of it can become psychologically damaging.
Most people realize sooner or later that they are their own worst critics. More than anybody else, they focus on their failures and flaws while excluding their successes and virtues.
So, how can you move on from these self-defeating thoughts? Can you become an ally to yourself instead of your own worst critic?
The answer is yes. Psychologists recommend several practices that can help overcome self-criticism and foster more mindful thoughts. Discover more about these recommendations by reading this guide!
Instead of Being Your Worst Critic, Be a Friend
When your friends come to you with problems, how do you treat them? Do you blame them for their circumstances? Are you cruel or nagging towards them?
Chances are, the answer to these questions is no. People generally treat their friends with goodwill and compassion in trying times.
So, why not direct that same compassion towards yourself sometimes? Learn to regard yourself as a person within the universe, just like your friends. Recognize that sometimes, your problems are beyond your control.
Then, spend each day encouraging yourself and taking steps to overcome your problems. Also, remember not to go it alone unnecessarily. Take comfort from your loved ones when times get tough.
Some people may not like the idea of keeping a journal or diary. However, the practice has several benefits.
First, journaling can take you outside of yourself. Writing your thoughts, feelings, and routines in a book can help you gain additional perspective on your life. In doing so, you can learn to see yourself in a more compassionate light.
Journaling can also help you gain confidence. Keeping a record of your progress, growth, and successes gives you something to look back on. In the process, it can even strengthen your writing and communication skills!
Finally, studies demonstrate that journaling helps to reduce stress and anxiety. These emotions often add fuel to the fire of self-criticism.
Fostering mindful thoughts can help to balance your critical voice. Most of the time, people with too many self-defeating thoughts remain focused on their pasts. They recall their past failures and mistakes and believe these determine their worth.
This approach can prove disastrous to your progress. After all, becoming stuck in the past can keep you from moving toward the future.
Instead of contemplating the past, which you can’t change, think about the present. Living in the present moment helps you accept who you are now and decide who you’d like to be in the future.
There are several ways to practice mindfulness. One common approach involves using breathing exercises. These exercises help calm the mind.
In doing so, you can gain a fresh perspective on yourself and your situation. Usually, this perspective takes a less critical and condemnatory form. Instead, it helps you regard yourself with compassion and kindness.
Learn the Difference Between Self-Care and Complacency
On one hand, there’s nothing wrong with taking time to practice self-care. An occasional mental health day or taking fifteen minutes to pray or meditate is not complacency but rather a form of self-care.
This self-care does not weaken your productivity. On the contrary, it gives you the strength and mental fortitude to perform your duties excellently.
Because of this, an astute observer can tell the difference between self-care and complacency. Complacency usually adopts a critical voice but accepts its situation. In other words, it says, “These faults are who I am, and it’s who I’ll always be.”
Self-care ultimately focuses on making positive changes in oneself. With this mindset, you can recognize your legitimate faults while moving towards personal improvement.
One way to help this process is to adopt positive affirmation statements. These statements should include the following:
- Common humanity
Using these affirmations can help you reinforce the difference between self-care and complacency. A transformational coaching course can help you find the best affirmations.
Express Gratitude Regularly
When you’re your own worst critic, your self-critical voice often blames you for qualities you lack. Maybe there are some qualities you can work hard to develop. However, focusing on these “missing features” is not the healthiest way to live.
Instead, focus on the good circumstances and qualities you currently possess. Gratitude can have a tremendous impact on how you see your life.
So, how can you foster gratitude in your daily life? One exercise includes writing down three things you’re thankful for each night. It may help to do this before you go to bed.
Another option is to express gratitude to the people in your life. Simply saying thank you more frequently can help you realize how fortunate you are.
Challenge Your Negativity
In many cases, people accept their thoughts as facts. In particular, people most readily believe the thoughts pertaining to them and their identities. This acceptance can prove dangerous when you believe every negative idea in your mind.
Fortunately, you don’t have to acknowledge these thoughts as truth. Instead, you can respond to them with more neutral or uplifting points. Consider this a way of combatting or debating your self-critical voice.
Once again, self-affirmation statements can be a helpful tool. Countering these thoughts with positive affirmations can disrupt your negative mindset.
Learn to Become an Ally to Yourself
Self-defeating thoughts can turn you into your own worst critic. However, you don’t have to accept this condition. These tactics can help you change your mindset and lead a more fulfilling life.
However, adopting this change can be a challenge for anyone doing it alone. That’s why it’s often wise to find a transformational coach.
A transformational coach can provide workshops and resources to help you change your mindset. In doing so, you can change yourself! So, get started by connecting with me today.