“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
― Louise L. Hay
Are you familiar with that awful feeling when you just know you had bombed that important meeting, exam, interview or presentation? It sucks, it stings and it can be a true blow to our ego which leaves us feeling vulnerable and unappreciated. I have built an image of how the “Perfect Alex” would look like and I always have this feeling of lack of contentment when I was unable to meet my own unrealistic standards.
—But is beating yourself up doing you any good?–
Self-criticism is one of the worst things you can do to yourself and it will do nothing positive for your life. It basically refers to you viewing and evaluating yourself in a negative light. If you are “self-critical”, you are always finding faults with your actions and who you are as a person. As it appears in numerous studies, harsh self-criticism has been shown to undermine motivation, impede progress toward goals, and increase procrastination.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 ways to help you to overcome self-criticism so that you can become happier and more productive. (I know it works for me)
Focus On the Task At Hand And Avoid Over-Thinking
If you get trapped too much in your own mind, this is when self-criticism is going to happen. If you had a project at work and you didn’t do as well as what you would have liked, dwelling on this will only make you doubt your own capabilities.
Focus on what is in front of you and put aside for a while all the other distractions. When I have a project or an important task with an uncompromising deadline, there is a little room for over-thinking and doubting, the job needs to get done. I take a piece of paper and break down the task into little to-do list steps to keep me on the right track like bread crumbles to guide the way. This keeps me focused on what is in front of me all the time.
Take A Walk And Breathe Deeply
After a bad meeting or presentation, it’s easy to slide down the slippery slope of self-bashing, I know what I am talking about here because I’ve felt this way so many times after what I thought was the worst meeting/phone call/presentation I ever had. When your head is spinning with “I should have done this or say that” scenarios, in this state of mind you’re in no position to be making rational judgments about your performance.
Your best bet is to take a step away from the situation both physically and mentally to gain an objective perspective. Taking a walk outside is a great way to your mind a rest. Take deep breaths and keep reminding yourself how great you are. It’s critical to come to the table with a level-headed, emotionally neutral state to kick your motivation into high gear.
Be Grateful For What You’ve Already Achieved In Life
Everybody progresses at different stages than one another and everyone actually has a different view on what progress is. You must be thankful for what you are right now and for your accomplishments in life rather than what you haven’t. The only one who has these high expectations is YOU, so just believe you will get there and don’t set such a tight timeframe for yourself. Having your own goals is vital rather than just reflecting the goals of others. Success is a slow and steady road and one of the best ways to get there is through positivity and self-awareness.
Make a list of small achievements that you are especially proud of, it can be small but valuable achievements that you would love to brag about. Read them out loud to yourself every time you feel that self-criticism comes knocking at your door.
You must be thankful for what you are right now and for your accomplishments in life rather than what you haven’t.
Treat Yourself The Way You Would Treat A Close Friend
A great way to get over the toxic self-criticism is by treating yourself the way you would a friend. Would you pick at every trait of their personality and make them feel bad about themselves? The answer is probably no, so you need to treat yourself the exact same way. You are your own best friend or your worst enemy, so take the time to be there for yourself both emotionally and physically. Encourage, listen and remind yourself that everything is going to be just right.
Adjust Your “Ego Ideal” And Remember: You Are Only Human
According to Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality, the superego is the component of personality composed of the internalized ideals that we have inherited from our parents and society.
The ego ideal is the part of the superego and is often thought of like the image we have of our ideal selves—the people we want to become. It is this image we hold up as the ideal individual, often modeled after people that we know, that we hold up as the standard of who we are striving to be.
As much as we would all love to be perfect, it’s simply not realistic. In fact, aiming for an impossibly high standard will only lead to disappointment and self-criticism. Go easy on yourself and adjust your goals where necessary. You might not be perfect but who is?
I am only human after all….
Wrapping it all up
Whatever your goals are in life, you will never make them if you are overly critical of yourself and everything you do. Confidence is everything and sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. Putting the mentioned steps into actions are going to help you enormously to get where you want to be.
- Write a daily journal, I write a daily journal where I try to keep track of my accomplishments, thoughts, and downsides of the day.
- Remind yourself, that you are only human and you are not perfect.
- Take a piece of paper and break down any task into little to-do list in order to avoid over-thinking.
is beating yourself up doing you any good?
Up until next time,