7 Effective Ways To Overcome Self-Criticism

Wondering how not to be too harsh on yourself? Here are some effective ways to overcome self-criticism, that will surely help you fall in love with yourself.

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”Louise L. Hay.

It often happens that we think very lowly of ourselves, assuming that we aren’t good enough or we don’t have the capacity to deal with something, or maybe, we can’t pull off a certain task.

There are, for sure, external factors that induce such thoughts, but often it stems from overthinking and self-criticism.

When we try to compare our career, choices, income, looks, or attire with that of others and don’t find it satisfactory enough, we start to think that we aren’t good enough.

Self-criticism usually triggers negative thoughts about ourselves – more specifically, about our behaviors and attributes. And they tend to disrupt the normal flow of life.

In order to put some light on this matter, here are some examples that’ll help you to understand the signs that you are overly critical of yourself:

“I’m a failure.”
“I can’t do anything right.”
“I’m not good enough for you.”
“I will not look good wearing that dress.”
“I am not strong enough to do this.”
“I’ll never get better.”
“Nobody is interested in my ideas.”

When such thoughts appear in a loop, you’d eventually nurture negative thoughts questioning your own abilities, and end up not even trying something.

Needless to say, self-criticism is mostly rooted in fear and it stops you from taking action on your ideas.

To put it in the words of Darlene Lancer, “Don’t be a victim of your thoughts.”

In order to train your mind to stop criticizing yourself and to focus on your positive attributes, here are a few steps that you can follow.


overcome self criticism


Ways to overcome self-criticism:

1. Write down your negative thoughts.

When you have negative thoughts in your head, they end up going on and on, in endless cycles. Thoughts come fast and one self-critical thought gives birth to another, and this will form a chain as you indulge in the self-talk.

Unfortunately, each of those thoughts generates a dose of painful emotion, which means being self-critical in your head can very quickly lead to anxiety and stress, and eventually cause depression.

To deal with that, the best you can do is – grab a pen and paper (preferably, a notebook) and start writing about those thoughts.

That way, you’ll have time to slow down, focus on one thought, and deal with it more patiently. It’ll also give you a perspective and help you understand where those negative thoughts are stemming from.

Sometimes, the most irrational thoughts might seem convincing in our heads, but once they’re spelled on paper, they look vague and absurd.

Thus, never underestimate the power of writing down your negative thoughts, Give yourself the time you deserve.


2. Look beyond your mistakes and failures.

One of the most common self-criticism trigger points is failure. We tend to think about our mistakes over and over again, which generates a sense of helplessness, agony, and depression.

Rather than letting your failure pull you down, learn to look at it as a lesson and move ahead. I know, it’s easier said than done – but it depends on you, how you want to deal with things that didn’t work out.

The best way to deal with this is to shift your focus and look beyond your mistakes. Find things you love and get active.

Pick up some colors and start painting, or just plug in your headphones and go for a run. Call up a friend to talk about the good things in life, cook your favorite meal, or just listen to some good music. Rather than sitting and letting your thoughts beat you up, plan what you can do next for better results.


3. Replace your negative thoughts with assertive statements.

Understand that your negative thoughts aren’t always factual and mostly, they are far from realistic! They are mostly the perception you’ve built for yourself, and the best way of changing them is to find assertive statements of motivation.

For example, if you think – “I’ll never get that promotion,” then a good way to change your thought would be to work hard and make your mind – “I’ll put in my 100% to get that promotion.”

Your mental strength will encourage you to do better, always. If you constantly keep on criticizing yourself, then your morale will always be low, and you’d not have the zeal to put in your best efforts.

You know what you’re good at, so nurture your positive qualities, and believe that you can achieve whatever you aim for.

As Anne Burton once said, “We are harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else” – now is the time to stop being hard on yourself and have a realistic approach in life.


4. Let self-improvement and self-acceptance overpower self-criticism.

Getting comfortable in your own skin is extremely important, and one of the best ways to get over your self-criticism is through self-acceptance. Rather than thinking – “I’m not good enough,” start reminding yourself that – “I can do better.”

Acknowledge the fact that there’s always room for self-improvement and your flaws don’t define you. If you’re feeling anxious to take a step towards your goal, then slow down and think about what’s stopping you.

Shed your fears and work towards improving your skills, that’ll help you perform better. Accept yourself for who you are right now while simultaneously investing in becoming an even better version of yourself down the road.


5. Stop comparing yourself to others.

It’s normal to feel insecure about yourself when you try to compare your life with that of others. You’d invariably feel that everyone else has a better life than yours, especially in today’s date when we mostly tend to see everything through the lens of social media.

Comparing your life with that of your friends or peers would probably make you feel that you’re not good enough – while in reality, you aren’t even aware of the problems they might be struggling with, in their personal lives.

Instead of being over-critical about yourself, try to shift your focus on where you were before and where you are now. Assess how you’ve grown beautifully over time, and the strengths you’ve gained along the way.


6. Practice mindfulness and self-gratitude.

At times when you are too critical about yourself and everything looks blurry, sit down and breathe slowly. Try to disengage from the thoughts that pull you down, and focus on things that make you happy.

Slowly, bring your focus towards your breathing and acknowledge the fact that you’re stronger than you think you are. Life isn’t that bad, and you have the power to do whatever you wish for.

Mindfulness is a practice that can change the course of our lives, and we’d only get to know it when we are open enough to embrace its goodness.

Similarly, expressing gratitude for your own self will also nurture the bond your share with yourself. The basic idea is to take a few minutes each day and write down a few things you’re grateful for – essentially focusing on things that you like about yourself. 

Related: How to start a gratitude journal – an extensive guidebook

You can start with – “I made delicious breakfast today,” “I’m glad I went for a jog today,” or “I have put in extra efforts in making the presentation” – so on and so forth.

Writing down things that make you happy can have a great impact on your mental health. Try to congratulate yourself on your little achievements.

And on days when you feel too critical about yourself, turn back to these pages. Trust me when I say this, you’ll end up feeling better.


7. Consult a therapist.

Last, but not the least, consult a therapist. Often, we can’t deal with our anxieties and it reaches a point where it starts to shake the balance of our lives.

In such cases, therapy can be helpful if you are too critical to an extent that your daily function or quality of life is impacted. A therapist can teach you ways to focus on the good things in life and help you in exploring any potential barriers to self-compassion.

Remember that your mind can be your greatest asset as well as your worst enemy. And in order to have a good life, it’s essential to train it well.

Related: Powerful reasons why everyone should engage in therapy

If you have been through phases of self-criticism and experiences worth sharing, do let us know in the comments below. And in case you have any effective way to share, we’d like to hear about that as well.

In the end, all we’re seeking is happiness and peace!

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