When we do something that we are passionate about and we feel under pressure, anxiety often assails us because we want to achieve a goal. However, we often don’t have full power over achieving our aspirations. And so we are prone to self-criticism, because we are the first to judge ourselves negatively when we do not get the desired results.
When we want to change the way we act or other issues related to our appearance, the activities we carry out or interpersonal relationships, we can be victims of self-criticism. It happens especially when we want to achieve a goal and avoid possible failure. This feeling also makes us very demanding of ourselves and this can lead to destructive self-criticism. In these cases we strive hard to be attractive in front of everyone, asking ourselves much more than what we can offer.
Self-criticism taken to the extreme can have negative consequences for our mental health. It can also negatively affect the way we relate to others, because we want to meet too many expectations. Often these expectations are even non-existent. If it is so harmful, how are we supposed to self-criticize without loving each other less?
Tips for healthy self-criticism
1. We are our own worst judges
Understanding that the pressure we feel hanging over us comes only from ourselves is complex and tiring at first. Probably, the people around us do not have all these exaggerated expectations of us, yet we always keep thinking about what they will think of us.
We must understand that this kind of thoughts that involve most of us is mainly due to our insecurity, and therefore to the feeling of being imperfect. Always criticizing ourselves for our personal successes, the appearance or quality of our relationships only intoxicate us emotionally and mentally.
2. Forgive yourself for being so hard on yourself
This mechanism thus becomes a vicious circle: we can judge ourselves negatively and then criticize ourselves. At that point we must learn to distinguish between constructive criticisms and those that are not ; while criticizing ourselves for unimportant issues leads to a toxic approach, criticizing this dynamic is a constructive way that allows us to realize that we are not doing things right.
3. Train to overcome the fear of rejection
Human beings are social beings because most of the actions they perform involve others. To make the social apparatus work, cooperation and acceptance are needed. For this reason, one of the greatest fears is precisely that of not being accepted by others.
Stopping wanting to be part of this apparatus, which in many cases requires other people, causes enormous anxiety in people who are most demanding about themselves. We have to train to understand that not all people will accept us and that this is not a problem at all.
4. Learn to understand your cycles
No one is always happy or fully satisfied with his successes. We all follow cycles, also due to internal issues, such as hormones, or external, such as interpersonal relationships. We all have ups and downs every day, and because of that, we don’t have to judge ourselves so harshly if we’re in a bad time.
When this happens, however, and we are going to be self-critical, we need to think about what we are feeling that day, week or month. The negative experience reflects on our successes and our lifestyle , so we must keep it in mind as the cause of our malaise. Investigating why this self-criticism originates will also provide us with clues as to the existence of this inherent need in our behavior.
5. Think about your successes
Once the cause is identified, if we still feel sad or angry with ourselves, we can do an exercise. Let’s go back in time and think about everything we did well, the rewards or how proud we were to be so loved in a happy time. Our mood will improve, because we will see ourselves in similar situations.
6. Do what makes you happy
It is essential to dedicate our time to everything that makes us happy; these activities require less effort and their realization is assured.
Completing the tasks we need to do is a great way to be self-critical because it gives us reasons to love and appreciate ourselves. Choosing a job that fills us with happiness, keeping active or relating to positive people will help us reach the finish line.
Nobody will love us as we can love ourselves. We must find happiness within us, accept ourselves as we are, with our strengths and weaknesses. Only we know how to make ourselves happy and we must know how to appreciate and value this.