How To Overcome Self-Criticism?


Self-criticism will hold you back from creating a meaningful life. It will stop you from achieving your dreams and goals, hold you back from trying new things, and make you think you’re less of the amazing human that you are.

Self-criticism is our mind’s way of protecting ourselves, but it can truly inhibit the way we speak, think, and do. This post will be about how to overcome self-criticism so that you can live a meaningful, powerful life.

What Is Self-Criticism

Self-criticism is a mental habit where we negatively analyze and speak to ourselves about our words and actions. According to Banish Your Inner Critic, it’s the desire to protect ourselves from being judged, rejected, or criticized by doing it ourselves. It’s a process that is rooted in fear, and it will stop you from living a meaningful, powerful life.

What Are Some Examples of Self-Criticism?

Self-criticism can simply be anything that you say to yourself negatively. Certain examples include:

  • I’m not clever
  • I don’t deserve this
  • I am so boring
  • I can’t do anything right
  • No one will be my friend.

Can you see how negative these words are? This is what self-criticism is: it’s inherently negative, and it gets you in a bad mindset.

How Do You Overcome Self-Criticism?

There are many ways that you can overcome self-criticism. Here are some recommendations we suggest that you do if you want to achieve a more positive mental state:

1. Pay attention to what you say to yourself

Your own narration is constant. This means that you are so used to what you hear and say to yourself that you don’t really pay attention to the negative thoughts on a conscious level.

However, start paying close attention to what your thoughts are saying because on a subconscious level, you’re taking it in. Learning to recognize thought patterns is crucial to overcoming self-criticism.

2. Do something

If you find yourself being heavily critical internally, get outside and do something. The fresh air and new perspective will help your mindset. Don’t listen to the negative thoughts, but instead try and do something to help overcome them.

3. Replace the negative with something realistic

It’s natural to feel negative or defeated sometimes. From struggling with a piece of work to hitting a deadline, or trying something new, we can find it hard to always be positive. However, try and switch out the constant negativity with a realistic statement instead. Like, ‘I can’t do this’ into ‘I’ve never done this before but it’s good that I’m trying.’

4. Ask yourself what you’d say to a loved one

We are normally so much more compassionate to others than we are to ourselves. It’s unlikely you’d say the same words to someone else like you would to your own mind. Treat yourself how you’d treat your friend, and you’ll be much kinder.

5. Help your mind to think differently

Your mind can either be an asset or an enemy. It’s important to help it on a subconscious level to be kinder so that you live a more happy life.

Overcoming self-criticism can be hard. It’s not an easy task to turn what may be years of negativity into something more positive. However, with the right words and lots of effort, you can overcome self-criticism. Think about how powerful you would be if you turned every ‘I can’t’ into an ‘I can’!

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Photo of Noga Sapir - Reflect Author, the author
Written by Noga Sapir - Reflect Author

Noga is the founder and CEO of Reflect Innovation. Noga’s work lies in the intersection of technology and design, and how tactility can create unique experiences in the mental health space.

Reflect Innovation was conceived in 2016 when, while completing her degree in Textile Design, Noga developed Reflect, looking to invent solutions for her own struggle with anxiety.

Noga holds a BSc. in Neuroscience from Tel Aviv University and BDes. in Textile Design from Shenkar College of engineering, design, and art.

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