Self-Criticism Seems Natural, but It’s Not – How to Recognize and Stop This Bad Habit

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self-criticism

Self-criticism is a like second nature, once it gets started, it’s easy to do. The good news is, you can break this unhealthy habit with just a few steps.

Critical aspects of our character and image become clear to us as soon as we wake up each morning. That is, if we are used to self-criticism, and act upon this as nature. It’s easy to look in the mirror and find every flaw and imperfection. It’s also easy to comment to yourself and others about these flaws and imperfections. But this is unhealthy.

As children, we learn both positive and negative habits

It starts in younger life, as far back as grade school. We may not be the first ones to criticize ourselves, but after a few insults from other children, we start to look for these insults as flaws that are real. A neurotic personality is more prone to absorb negative criticism and create the self-critical habit. This then follows throughout life as a reminder of each flaw and imperfection.

Thoughts gravitate toward “If they say I am ugly, then I must really be ugly.

We need steps to guide us in the right direction-steps that will eradicate self-criticism

This is the truth, the harsh truth of self-criticism and how it starts its harmful lifespan. What I want to know, and I’m sure you do too, is how to stop this habit in its tracks. Self-criticism must die in order for us to have a fulfilling life. For us to see our true beauty, there mustn’t be any self-loathing.

Love thyself

I have a personal success story in this area. Mind you, I’m not perfect at loving myself, but I am a step closer to appreciating who I have become. During my marriage, from the young age of 19 until 38, I walked in the shadow of my husband. All the family friends referred to me as his wife. All family members forgot my name, constantly calling me by every version that started with the same letter.

Everything I did for entertainment was based upon what he wanted to do. When I got new hairstyles or bought new clothes, I had to know which ones he liked, to base my purchase decisions. I was his fan club, and my own personality was faded somewhere in the background, only surfacing when he was gone on long trips a fraction of its brilliance.

When I was divorced, I learned so many things living on my own. One of those things was the ability to truly know and love myself. As I was critical much of the time during the marriage, I learned to appreciate my flaws during single life. I spent countless hours alone, while my children were with their father, and I got to know me. Now I like me, for the most part, and self-criticism has decreased – not gone entirely, but better.

So, love yourself. Stop focusing on what anyone else likes about you, and find what you like about you. We are all human, and I am sure we all have flaws somewhere, even if they are hidden well. Do not live in the shadow of another human being, no matter how much you love them. It is detrimental to your health, especially playing a large role in self-criticism.

Go ahead and fail

From a young age, our parents and friends have told us we shouldn’t fail. So, we put our best foot forward and tried harder to be successful. I can’t say that this is a bad mindset, but it can be dangerous if placed before self-care and love. Failure is not desirable, but it happens to be the best of us.

I want to encourage you to let yourself fail at things, not all things and not purposely. If you see the failure on its way, then try not to be self-critical. You are good enough, failure is not always a reflection on your lack of ability. Sometimes failure comes because you simply reached a little too high, or timing may have been off a bit.

When you see failure in your near future, don’t always push harder to avoid it. Sometimes it’s better to fail a little in order to see what needs to be improved. If you always succeed in the beginning, you will tend to plateau, never truly improving from who you are. Then, sooner or later, you may start to feel inadequate. Failure helps us see that we are good enough, we are all imperfect and that is just fine.

Focus on your good stuff!

Each and every one of us has good traits. You might have a large nose and big ears like me, but you may also have deep dark eyes and full lips, also like me. See what I did there? Like I said before, we are all imperfect, not a single one of us are made from head to toe in perfection. Very few people on this planet are truly symmetrical.

If you’re feeling down about your looks or personality, then stop right there! Take another route and focus on your good qualities. Remember how gifted with music you are, or how you are a great listener? Yes! These things prove that you have no business being self-critical. Now, look in the mirror and recognize the beautiful aspects of your face as well.

Focusing on your good stuff reminds you that self-criticism is pointless. What do you really stand to gain by being down on yourself? It wastes time and energy that you could be putting forth toward more important areas of your life. Try a little re-focusing this week and let’s see what happens.

Train your inner voice

Here’s one more tip that might prove beneficial. When you start to talk to yourself about your imperfections, then change the subject. If you must, get aggressive with that inner voice and refuse to listen to any negative talk. Train yourself, day by day, to create new thoughts-thoughts that might edify and help you grow.

I’m not saying it will be easy. What I am saying that you must start somewhere to kill that self-criticism. I think it starts from within.

I’ve been there, as my story above relays. I know the depths of self-criticism.

Once upon a time, I lost who my identity. Because of traumatic changes in my life, I had the chance to learn and love me. My self-criticism has declined drastically. While I am still working on this, I have taken huge steps in a positive direction.

Recognize what made you think in the negative manner which holds you down, and then learn how to break free. Use the steps above to begin your journey toward self-love.

I believe in you, now believe in yourself!

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Sherrie

Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought-provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.




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