Self-criticism is a common aspect of our personality that most people will wrestle with in life. I certainly do, and let’s be honest…it can be brutal. While I believe self-criticism helps keep me dialed into life assessment, including my faults and limitations, it’s a double-edged sword that can be disastrous if I don’t keep it in check.
The good side of self-criticism is that I see where I can make changes and improvements for a healthier, more productive, and satisfying lifestyle like eating better, getting good sleep, being an active listener, or showing grace with challenging people or situations. This self-criticism may challenge my choices and ask if I’m giving my best effort and paying enough attention to what’s most important to me.
I feel self-criticism is a kind of “awareness” that when used properly helps me consider my options and make adjustments to align my values and wants with my actions like living a healthier, more productive, and satisfying lifestyle like eating better, getting good sleep, being an active listener, or showing grace with challenging people or situations.
Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.William Ellery Channing
The bad side of self-criticism is if this “awareness” is given too much space and ventures into relentless, negative comparison, where I’ll always lose, because if done with a critical mindset, we tend to compare ourselves upward with people that aren’t even in our league. The result is an excess amount of disgust and self-loathing and in worst case scenarios, when left unchecked, can explode into self-hatred and depression, or drift into the opposite direction of narcissism.
Self-criticism is a tough hurdle to jump for anyone. It’s not a one and done, no, it’s a constant companion throughout our lifetime. I think the key is to get past it. I’ve jumped it. I’ve gone around it. I’ve crawled under it but the point was, I was damn well getting past it!
No doubt, our health, environmental circumstances, and maturity play a big role in our choices, but the bottom line is we need to get past our hurdles. Like it or not, the hurdles blocking our way are life lessons we’ve got to resolve to move forward and thrive in life. Sometimes it’s an attitude adjustment, paired with a necessary behavior change, or maybe having a more empathetic response to our current life situation but, unless something changes, we’ll simply find ourselves dealing with some version of this life lesson farther down the road. Sadly, I find the longer we resist self-growth, the stronger and more intense the lesson grows in the future.
You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself into oneHenry David Thoreau
So, let’s take the lead from the experts in addressing and dissolving self-criticism. Criticism is said to be calling attention to something that may need addressed such as past pain or destructive or “limiting” behaviors. To better handle self-criticism they suggest we observe the talk. Key word, “observe”!
They point out that to witness it shines light on the dark corners in our soul and where the light shines, the darkness can’t exist at the same time, and it begins to fade! When we witness our pains or fears we have an opportunity to address it with self-compassion. Giving ourselves lovingkindness and acceptance of past hurt helps us being to heal and clear out use the space it’s taking up in our life and let it go to make room for more loving and peaceful emotions which is one of our primary reasons to be.
Problems will continue to pop-up but when we approach them with optimism and hope for what we can learn to do better, we squelch the beastly voice of self-criticism by learning to rise above these problems because the problem doesn’t define our life, it’s how we solve the problem that defines our life. Seek to understand, commit to change, and enjoy the results. ❤️
Keep it Simple,