How to Stop Being Critical of Others
Posted on May 5, 2021 in be less judgmental, positivity, Playing, and negativity.
Written By: Clay Drinko
Play your Way Sane
"She shouldn't be wearing those pants."
"He is so lazy."
"They're nice, but they're just a little strange."
It's easy to get stuck in a critical mode--where we pick apart what's wrong with people instead of what's right.
But being critical is also a choice, something we can practice not doing . Before I answer how to stop being critical, let's look at what it means to be critical and why people do it. Then we'll break down some fun ways for how to stop being critical of other people.
What is Being Critical and Why Do We Do It?
If you've ever lowered your voice and whispered a critique about someone, you were critical. You've also been critical if you verbalized someone's faults or described someone's weaknesses or imperfections.
Apparently , Oscar Wilde once said that criticism is the only reliable form of autobiography. It reveals more about the critic than the one being criticized.
In psychology , criticizing is linked with ego-protection, which means that people criticize others because of a perceived personal weakness. I might criticize someone's house because of my exaggerated concerns and worries about my own feelings about being successful. Or I might criticize someone's appearance because of my own insecurities.
In improvisation, we are taught not to be critical or judgmental of our fellow players. Focusing on people's weaknesses makes us less likely to notice and improve the good things they're doing on stage. It also erodes the trust between us that allows us to take risks while improvising, risks that make improv more fun and engaging.
For example, if I roll my eyes and think about how Beth never says anything funny, I might miss Beth saying something funny. I'm also much less likely to add onto something Beth says to make it funnier. Also, Beth is probably going to feel some of my negative I-don't-like-Beth energy and start to clam up when she takes the stage with me.
Instead, I need to treat all my teammates like geniuses and superstars. This way, I'm priming myself to see the good and to do whatever I can to make them look even better. Going back to psychology , it's the difference between giving feedback and doling out criticism. Feedback's intention is to make someone look good and help them improve. Criticism's intention is to put someone down to make you feel better about yourself.
Criticism Versus Feedback
There's a problem with this feedback/criticism distinction though. Many criticizers disguise their criticism by saying that it's feedback.
That rude comment about Camille's nose job? I was just giving her some feedback.
Snide remark about Pat's weight? Feedback, man.
Snarky joke about Chris's contribution to the group project? Just giving you some feedback, Chris.
These examples are 100% criticism. They're not feedback at all.
Feedback is about allowing people to make their own choices, focuses on improvement and the future (not the past), and is about behavior (not the person).
Criticism is about blaming and devaluing people.
So let's take a look at how to stop being critical.
Play Your Way Sane
Based on my research on improvisation, I've developed twelve lessons for life . The lessons break down topics such as how to become more mindful, playful, and positive.
I've created what I call everyday games within each of the twelve lessons. The games are fun ways you can practice the lessons as you go about your everyday life. There's no need to take a class or form a team. It's like solo improv exercises for the person on the go.
Thou Shalt Not Be Judgy
The fifth Play Your Way Sane lesson is "Thou Shalt Not Ne Judgy." And it's all about playing our ways less judgmental of others. I catch myself being judgmental and critical of others all the time. I recognize that this says much more about me than them, so I've come up with everyday games to help myself break this judgmental habit.
Here are six exercises that will help you be less critical of others.
1. I Got Your Back
Right before improvisers take the stage, they often do a ritual where they pat each other on the backs and say, "I got your back."
This is reinforcing and reminding everyone that while onstage everyone will be looking for the positive in others and trying their best to make everyone look as good as possible.
I love this idea and wish more of us had each other's backs in real life.
This everyday game is about telling as many people as possible that you have their backs...and meaning it. Finding the context to say it may be a challenge, but I want you to sincerely proclaim "I got your back" to as many of your fellow humans as possible today.
2. Try Something Else Not Judgy
There's another improv game where a moderator stops a scene and tells one of the improvisers to try something else. It's called "New Choice," and it's a good reminder that our first choice doesn't have to be the only choice.
So the next time you catch yourself being critical, tell yourself to make a new choice and try something less critical.
3. Just Ask
Being critical is often about making assumptions. To stop yourself from making an ass out of u and me, I want you to just start asking.
Instead of talking smack about Rebecca's relationship, go right to the source and ask Rebecca how everything's going. Be sincere and caring. Have her back as you get the real tea. And then keep it to yourself.
If someone else wants to know more about Rebecca, they should go directly to the source, too.
4. Curious Detective
I like playing make-pretend, and this next everyday game is a great way to do exactly that.
Curious Detective is about pretending you're a detective and gathering as many clues about people as possible. Once again, it's about gathering facts instead of making assumptions. This will help you be less critical and judgmental by forcing you to be more curious about others.
5. How Do You Know?
A mantra I tell myself when I catch myself talking shit about others is "How do you know?"
When I catch myself being critical and judgmental of others, I ask myself, "How do you know?" This reminds me that I don't know everything about other people's experiences and that speculating behind their backs is not productive or helpful.
6. If You Can't Say Anything Nice
If all else fails, go back to the game your parents probably taught you when you were a kid. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
Stop yourself before any criticism spews from your talk hole.
How to Stop Being Critical
Being critical is addictive. It can be hard to stop it and replace it with more productive thought morsels, but it's definitely possible.
That's why I love turning the process into games. I'm much more likely to practice being less critical when the process is fun.
Think feedback instead of criticism. Try to learn as much about people as possible and be genuinely curious about what makes them tick. Allow their thoughts and feelings to be different from yours. We're all different, so imposing our agenda on others isn't helpful or realistic.
Then, try to help them look good. Instead of tearing people down, think about how your feedback can empower them to improve and succeed.
Figuring out how to stop being critical of others doesn't have to be drudgery. I hope my everyday games will make the process more fun, but it does require practice. And remember, if all else fails, put your hand over your mouth and shut the hell up. It's better to be silent than to be critical.
Try The Positivity Challenge
I also developed the Positivity Challenge to help people track how often they're negative and practice being more positive.
And for over 100 more improv-inspired exercises, check out my new book Play Your Way Sane !
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How To Know If You’re An Overly Critical Person
If you're like everybody else in the world, you probably hope to always be the best version of yourself. You most likely want to make the right decisions and feel confident doing so. However, with those aspirations sometimes come with a side order of self-criticism. Overly criticizing yourself can dramatically affect your self-confidence and cause you to think poorly of yourself and others around you. Being overly critical can manipulate your thoughts to be more cynical, which in the long run can prevent you from enjoying the things that once made you happy.
"It all starts with our thoughts. Though we might not outwardly seem like a critical person, our inner thoughts and feelings may be telling a very different story. The problem is we don’t usually hear the majority of the estimated 60,000 thoughts we humans have each day. These 'automatic thoughts' can create negative feelings that eventually can lead to behaviors that aren’t pretty," says clinical psychologist, speaker, and founder of the AZ Postpartum Wellness Coalition Christina G. Hibbert , Psy.D. in an interview with Bustle over email.
What's one way you can stop being an overly critical person? "First, we need to stop and notice what we’re thinking. Are you criticizing others’ looks, words, actions on a regular basis? Do you hear thoughts like, 'That person is so____(fill in the negative word),' or 'I can’t stand how they ____'? Because the truth is, whether you say them or not, if you’re finding loads of criticisms in your thinking, then you’re an overly critical person. The good thing is, with work, you can stop, hear, challenge and choose to change those critical thoughts into something more in line with who you really want to be," continues Hibbert.
While it's always a good idea to push yourself to become a better person, you don't want to think poorly of yourself when things don't go the way you want them to — because you got better things to do, right? But just in case you need a reality check, here are nine ways to know if you're an overly critical person.
1. You Constantly Second-Guess Yourself
Being an overly critical person doesn't just mean you're constantly judging others. It also entails you're being critical of yourself. "'Did I do that right?' 'I don't think that was the right answer...' 'I must be a failure!' If these internal thoughts are both normal and exceedingly familiar to you, over and over, there's a chance you're probably not trusting yourself. Some doubt and self-reflection is necessary, in small doses — any more than that, and it's no longer productive as a reality check; it's another tried-and-true way to beat yourself up," says psychotherapist and LGBT+ affirmative counselor Kristen Martinez , M.Ed., Ed.S., LMHCA, NCC in an interview with Bustle over email.
"Accepting your actions, feelings, and thoughts, and owning them, are the first steps toward trusting your own perspective as valid and real. When you give something your best shot, you know that you are enough and you did the best that you could, and whatever happens will happen; no self-criticism will change that in the end, so it probably isn't worth it to keep harping on yourself," continues Martinez.
2. You Pick Yourself (And Everyone Else) Apart
Usually people love to surround themselves with others who lift them up and make them feel good. While it's important to be honest in most relationships, that doesn't give you an excuse to pick others (and yourself!) apart. "When you're overly critical, you are your own worst enemy, as well as everyone else's! Your relationships may suffer from your constant complaining and negativity; your friends and family may not want to surround themselves with this toxicity, especially if they could be next in line to be judged. Chances are, most everyone is fully aware of their own perceived flaws (whether they're correct or not), so it probably isn't too helpful for you to keep pointing them out," says Martinez.
3. You Don't Enjoy Anything
There's no way for you to enjoy your life if you take it too seriously. You should try to lighten up and be mindful of all of good things that are happening in your life instead of focusing on the bad. "You aren't able to spend time with your SO without nagging them about something they forgot to do or did wrong, even while they're taking you out to a nice restaurant for your anniversary. When you're focusing on what's wrong, you are likely to find it, which causes you to search out any situation for its wrongness; this is what is called a confirmation bias (kind of like Murphy's Law). Consequently, of course, you never notice when things are going right and well," says Martinez.
4. Nothing Is Good Enough For You
Being a highly critical person means you expect the world from your loved ones. You want them to constantly go above and beyond for you and get offended when your ideal situation doesn't come to fruition. "It's hard to be satisfied with anything when your bar for yourself — and for others in your life — is so extraordinarily high. Sure, it's good to be motivated and to want to excel and not settle for things that aren't good enough for you, but when you can't put a limit on this, there's a problem. Looking at the world from a place of scarcity means that there will never be enough for you to be happy," says Martinez.
5. You Can't Take A Compliment
You're probably not going to say "thank you" when someone gives you a compliment if think very critical of yourself. But when you don't accept a compliment, you could be fueling your negative mindset and lack of confidence. "When someone compliments you, it usually sounds absurd or preposterous. 'You like this dress?! I just spilled my latte on it this morning — it looks horrible, can't you see?' When you're deflecting or dismissing genuine compliments from others, it sets the tone that (A) you're not interested in or don't value hearing feedback from others; (B) you can't ever see yourself in a positive light; and (C) there's no room for any alternative interpretation, other than your own (inherently negative) one," says Martinez.
6. You Worry That If You Stop Putting Yourself Down, The World May Fall Apart
Constantly being hard on yourself is not going to get you far in life. Actually, it could prevent you from being the best version of yourself. If you're not careful, you might start believing that you deserve negative situations (i.e. like getting fired or broken up with by your SO) to happen to you — which, of course, is not true at all. "[Putting yourself down] is the only way that you know how to relate to yourself; it has been passed down to you from generation to generation, and you've breathed it in from our culture, which values beating yourself up as a way to help you move forward and do better. The problem is, it's incorrect," says Martinez.
"Somehow, though, you think that it helps you to be a better person by being overly critical, and you worry about discarding this habit: 'Will I spiral out of control?' 'Will I be even worse than my worst nightmares?' Probably not. Tons and tons of research prove time and time again that when we look at ourselves and treat ourselves with compassion and love, we are more well-equipped to do better next time, and can have better relationships both with ourselves and our loved ones," continues Martinez.
7. You Constantly Feel Irritated
You're probably always in a mood because nobody does what you think they should do and nothing is going right. It's hard to feel happiness when you're not present in your life and constantly assume the worst out of those closest around you. "If you’re snippy and easy to anger, it may be due to having a critical take on most things, including yourself," says psychotherapist and author Karen R. Koenig M.Ed., L.C.S.W., in an interview with Bustle over email.
8. You Complain All The Time
If you're constantly being critical of others and yourself in your mind, you're probably voicing these thoughts and opinions to your friends and family, which means others around you are aware of your negative mindset. "People often tell you or imply that you’re a downer or a pessimist. They may say things to you like, 'Lighten up' or even 'Why do you always look for the worst in others?' This may be due to you seeing the negatives rather than the positives in life," says Koenig.
9. You Avoid Expressing Your Opinion
According to Physcology Today, Loretta G. Breuning, Ph.D. said, "What if you say something stupid? Perhaps you think you are boring, or not informed enough to debate with [a] certain company. It's smart not to stand out as informed when you know very little about a specific subject, but if you behave the same way in the company of people who are of equal or even lesser knowledge, then you are probably engaged in self-criticism when you force yourself to hold back."
When you're overly critical of yourself and others, you can allow yourself to thrive in a negative mental environment. While you always want to push yourself to become a better person (because, honestly, who doesn't want that?) doesn't mean you should beat yourself up over it. If you find yourself doing a lot of these signs, start to change your habits ASAP, so you can love yourself and live a more positive life.
Images: Pexels; Bustle (1)
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Why Are Some People So Critical?
- Steven Berglas
Not all negative feedback is worthwhile.
Harsh critics are often talented, intelligent, and productive people. Unfortunately, they have a flaw that compels them to disparage others – almost, at times, as though they are diagnosing an illness in need of eradication. It seems they’re living according to the famous quip by Mark Twain: “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”
In the language of the self-help and recovery movements, these folks are often suffering from a disorder known as, “If You Spot It, You Got It [IYSIYGI].” It works like this: You notice that colleague X has what is, in your mind, is an affliction. You then take it upon yourself to castigate him for his affliction — irrespective of whether or not it impairs his on-the-job performance or has a negative effect on group morale.
What makes this dynamic so ugly is that unbeknownst to the person under attack, the critic is being driven to criticize by a repressed-and-intolerable feeling that he’s “got” what he deplores in others.
For instance, years ago a client of mine and I were having dinner when he asked if I could help with a dilemma: “Diane, my comptroller, a woman 100% dedicated to the business, is also nastier than a junkyard dog. She doesn’t just monitor spending; she beats people up for what she sees as waste, failure to stick to protocol, issues with record-keeping… nothing major, but stuff that is technically wrong. If she assumes you are fudging parts of expense reports — say, claiming a lunch that’s not 100% business-related — she’ll attack you like Muhammad Ali in his prime. She assaults my EVP of sales so regularly, he vows to quit if I don’t fire her.”
My client was not prepared for my response: “I’m willing to bet Diane’s cooking the books so she can pocket cash.”
After catching his breath, my client took my bet. “Diane’s so honest, she could be a priest if the Pope allowed women to serve in that role,” he said.
But within a year, he was obligated to buy me a rare box of Cuban cigars after losing our bet: it turned out that Diane had been embezzling funds for 20 years.
That’s an extreme example of IYSIYGI behavior, but whether it’s a strong or a mild case, it’s a form of what psychologist call projection: A psychological defense mechanism that enables a person to deny their own issues by attributing those traits to others. Projection lets us condemn the traits or we find distasteful, repugnant, or worthy of punishment. IYSIYGI behaviors are, at times, benign -like me chiding my wife for leaving countless pairs of shoes around the house while my bonsai workbench looks like an earthquake hit it— but typically it is not. Ongoing IYSIYGI assaults can become significant threats to company morale.
When I bet my client that Diane was engaged in criminal behavior I was behaving “criminally” as well: Stealing candy from a baby. After studying IYSIYGI defensive tactics for years I knew that anyone who evinced hyper-rigid moralism -coupled with an intense bias against transgressors— was likely to terribly flawed.
In a very real way, Diane and all who condemn others owing to IYSIYGI drives are caught up in Shakespearean “doth protest too much” defensiveness. The anxiety that your own component parts are out of order -not the flaws of someone else— is the emotional pain that prompts an IYSIYGI attack.
IYSIYGI behavior is a fairly deep-seated problem that needs a clinician, not a coach, to resolve. That said, there is much that managers can do to minimize this dynamic on their teams.
The first step is to ignore faultfinders and instead reward problem solvers. In my opinion, we have become a nation obsessed with reproach: quick to jump to conclusions, take offense, and chide each other. The effect on our politics is bad enough, but it’s also been costly to our companies – and our relationships. Rather than assume that a problem has been caused by somebody’s ill-will, take a “stuff happens” attitude and simply ask the person or people closest to the damage to address it.
The second step is to encourage transparency – and forgiveness. The simple act of confessing your foibles can be incredibly beneficial. And learning from your confessor that you are not alone, that you are more “normal” than you assumed, is a major stress reducer. Finally, learning to be more patient with your own flaws will help you be more patient with those of others.
Finally, make sure that negative feedback is always given in the context of what can be done about it. Arguably, the worst thing IYSIGYI critics do is metaphorically curse the darkness while refusing to light a candle.
One executive who I was hired to coach, a man universally disliked by his direct reports, kept asking me, as a rhetorical rationale for his department’s under-performance, “How can I soar with the eagles while surrounded by turkeys?” I soon tired of this defense and recall snapping at him, “To hell with soaring… why don’t you just fly out of the barnyard so we can look at how you can do your job without justifying failure by fault-finding?” As bad as this intervention was, it served its purpose in that the executive admitted that he struggled to relate to his staff — and needed to learn to do so.
Still, in hindsight I wish I’d told that man, “Why not try to free yourself to soar by adopting the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi: ‘Hate the sin, love the sinner.’ If you do, you’ll be amazed at how rarely your direct reports interfere with your flight plans.”
- SB A faculty member of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry and staff member of McLean Hospital for 25 years, Dr. Steven Berglas is now an executive coach and corporate consultant based in Los Angeles, CA.
The Dangers of Criticism – Do You Do it More Than You Realise?
by Andrea M. Darcy
Criticism can become such an ingrained habit we aren’t even aware it is one, or defend ourselves if we are accused of it (critical people tend to be very self-protective, for reasons outlined below).
But understanding and changing a habit of criticising others can be a life changer.
Why is criticism such a big deal?
Criticism damages relationships for these reasons:
1. Nobody trusts a criticiser.
Trust involves knowing someone else has your wellbeing in mind. Criticism leaves another person instead seeing you as an attacker.
2. Other people stop listening to what you have to say.
If you are always criticising others they’ll start to tune you out, meaning if you do have something important to share they won’t want to hear it anymore.
3. You become seen as controlling and nobody likes being controlled.
The more you criticise someone, the more they feel under surveillance. This leads to feeling controlled, which often means they will pull away.
4. Criticism creates a very negative environment.
Even if your criticism is hidden in ‘jokes’, it’s still criticism. And criticism creates an environment of defeat and resentment.
5. It stops things from getting done.
Criticism means people stop wanting to collaborate or cooperate with you. You get resistance instead of cooperation. This can mean work projects take longer, and things like family trips can seem like a chore instead of enjoyable.
6. Criticism blocks others from seeing your value.
Criticism is inevitably more about the speaker than the one being spoken too. For example, you might think you are telling the other person they are too sloppy with their clothing and you can’t date them if they don’t sort it out, but you are actually saying, “I am controlling, I care more about your exterior than your interior, I am judgemental”. You are making it hard for others to see your good side, basically.
What if you are actually negatively affecting the brains of those you love?
By: Celestine Chua
Still think criticism is no big deal? Then look at studies regarding the affects of criticism on the brain.
The brain sees criticism as a stressor. A study looking at the way the brains of people already prone to neuroticism handled criticism showed this very effectively – the scans showed far more regions activated as the brains of the participants frantically tried to understand the criticism offered and seek appropriate social behaviour in response to it.
Criticism is so powerful it affects the way the brain programs itself, and it can be especially damaging for anyone prone to things like depression , anxiety , or neuroticism . For example, a study from Harvard and Cambridge universities using magnetic resonance brain imagining to see the affect of critical family environments on those who had recovered from depression found that a critical mother was a possible source of relapse as criticism “helps to “train” pathways characteristic of depressive information processing”.
5 Ways to Tell if You Are Actually a Critical Sort
If you feel your ideas about others are fair and can’t quite believe feedback that you need to be nicer, ask yourself the following questions.
1. Are you often right about things?
Are you often ‘proving your point’? Critical minds see the world from a view where there is only one right way, instead of realising that many things are a question of perspective .
2. Do you berate yourself if you mess up with something?
Notice what goes on in your head if you make little mistakes – a typo in a word document, spilling a drink on your desk. Do you say things like ‘what an idiot’, or ‘god what is wrong with you’? Behind their show of confidence , a criticiser secretly criticises themselves, too.
3. Are you defensive?
By: Mark Morgan
Defense is a mechanism to hide insecurity, and we tend to criticise others because as a child we were criticised, leaving us an insecure adult (read on for more about this).
4. Do you often feel let down by others?
A critical mind sets unreachable standards, leaving you disappointed when others fail to live up to them.
5. Do you blame others often?
If you often feel like everything is someone else’s fault you are generally criticising them.
Why can’t I stop criticising? Look to your childhood
Most people develop a critical mind because they learned it from a caregiver as a child.
A child who is constantly criticised does not have the cognitive ability to realise that the criticism is not the truth and ultimately internalises the criticism and learns to self-criticise. As they get older, this inner criticism inevitably becomes something they project onto others , starting to criticise others like their parent or guardian did to them, if only to escape the painful stream of self-critical thoughts in their own head.
And don’t think that just because your parent didn’t overtly criticise you you weren’t experiencing it. One powerful form of criticism for a child is the pressure to be ‘good’. If you were taught you were only loveable when you were well-behaved, quiet, in a happy mood, or doing well at school, these are all ways you were taught you were not good enough to be loved as is. Is there anything more condemning for a young child?
But isn’t criticism sometimes necessary and helpful?
It is entirely possible to use your critical thinking in a positive, useful way. But that such critical thinking is not criticism, but feedback (the next post in this series will examine the difference between these two).
What should I do if I am always criticising others?
Getting honest about the habit is of course the important first step. You can’t change something you aren’t admitting to.
The next step that can be helpful is to self-educate , reading articles like this and also self-help books .
Like most forms of negative thinking , criticism can, however, be a hard habit to break. Negative thinking hardwires the brain into addictive cycles of thoughts, emotions, and behaviours .
But negative thinking responds remarkably well to talking therapies , especially cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) , a short-term talking therapy especially designed to help you recognise and break patterns of negative thoughts, replacing them with more realistic thinking that then leads to better choices and actions.
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Change Becomes You
Mar 21, 2020
Why People Are Overly Critical and How To Deal With Them
They’re never impressed, constantly disappointed in others and sets unattainable expectations., nothing is good enough.
I am guilty of being overly critical. It’s an unfortunate behaviour of recovering perfectionists .
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How to Stop Being Critical of Others? (19 Expert Tips)
Once in a while, we may find ourselves critical of other people.
Although being critical has its benefits, more often it brings adverse effects.
Hence we asked 14 experts to share tips on how to stop being critical of others.
Dr. Margaret Paul
Relationship Expert | Co-Creator, InnerBonding®
Learn to define your own self-worth intrinsically
Often, when we are being critical of others, we are projecting onto others the judgments that we are leveling at ourselves.
Critical people tend to judge themselves and others on outer things – looks, money, weight, job, partner, house, car and so on. When you define your own worth by externals, then you may be defining others by externals as well.
The way to stop being critical of others is to learn to define your own self-worth intrinsically , which means that you learn to see the beautiful intrinsic qualities of your true self – your caring, compassion, empathy, kindness, generosity, creativity, playfulness, sensitivity and so on.
When you are able to see and love and value your own true self – your essence – you will naturally be able to see and value the essence of others. Instead of just focusing on the externals, you will be able to connect with who they are within.
When you are no longer judging and criticizing yourself, you will stop criticizing others.
Criticism is a form of control. The person criticizing hopes to either change the other person with criticism or make themselves feel one-up by putting someone one-down.
When you learn to define your own worth and give yourself the validation and attention you might be seeking from others, then you can be accepting of others rather than controlling.
Learning to love and value yourself is the key to stopping being critical of others.
James I. Millhouse, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist | Author, The Parents Manual of Sport Psychology
Understanding your motivation is the first step
It is important to listen to feedback that you are critical of others because many people who are critical of others do not think they are being that way. If you get feedback that you are critical of others you need to take it seriously due to the potential damage to yourself and others.
If others feel you are critical they may shut you out and feel negative feelings toward you. If they emotionally shut out your message then, even if it could be useful, the value in your message may not get heard. The problem often gets out of hand where people might feel pressured or judged, leading to an undesirable relationship.
People are critical of others for different reasons and it may be valuable to you to understand your motivation behind the behaviors seen as critical of others.
Some people are critical of others as a way to exert dominance, which creates resentment and communication problems. Other people are critical of others because they are critical of themselves and think this is the best way to be, so it gets generalized to others.
However, the largest group of people are critical of others because they think they are being helpful.
So understanding your motivation is the first step. If it is to be helpful then a good way to start the communication is to ask if the other person would like some feedback or suggestions.
You must not tell them what they ‘ should ‘ do because that can easily foster resentment. If they are open to some information then sharing what you see as the behaviors and consequences that result may be a good way to start the conversation.
Essentially you are giving them your perception of their activity and the result, but you must avoid resentment. There are rules for giving and receiving feedback that can be a guide to upgrading your ability to communicate your thoughts more effectively.
Megan Gunnell, LMSW
Psychotherapist | Speaker | Writer | International Retreat Leader
Assume everyone is doing the best they can
Stop being critical of yourself. Most judgment and criticism come from feeling susceptible to judgment ourselves.
If we feel insecure or self-conscious around a specific issue (weight, finances, parenting ability, anything) then sometimes we search hard to find someone who looks like they’re doing it worse and we highlight their shortcomings or limitations in that area to make ourselves feel better. The problem is, it never makes us feel better!
We can also reduce the criticism and judgment of others by assuming everyone is doing the best they can.
If we approach situations from that perspective then we don’t criticize them for not meeting our expectations. Instead, we assume the best in others in a compassionate way. We cannot possibly extend compassion or kindness to others though if we are cruel and harsh on ourselves.
Self-care, self-love, and self-compassion are an important part of learning how to extend kindness and compassion to others.
Morella Devost, EdM, MA
Counselor | Clinical Hypnotherapist | Holistic Health Coach
Perspective shifts that can help us observe our critical thoughts and words
In my work with my clients (and in my work on myself), I have three perspective shifts that can help us observe our critical thoughts and words:
Our judgment is really a reflection of ourselves
As the old saying goes, when we judge others we have “one finger pointing at the other person, three fingers pointing back at us.”
This saying helps us reflect on the fact that whenever we’re judging or criticizing someone, in all likelihood we, ourselves are guilty of that same fault or flaw in some way. So the question to ask ourselves is this: How am I guilty of that as well? In what way is my judgment a reflection of me?
Our judgment is really a reflection of our own feelings smallness and vulnerability
When you look closely at judgment or criticism, you realize that the act of criticizing is an attempt to raise ourselves above the other person; to feel that we are better than them, more righteous, more worthy.
Seeking to feel superior only comes from our own smallness, because if we were in profound self-love we would have compassion rather than judgment. So then the question to ask ourselves might be: How am I feeling small that I need to make myself feel superior by judging this person?
We can choose to see through the eyes of love and compassion
This is the PRO level. When we are capable of shifting into a loving stance rather than a critical one, we can look at the same situation with different eyes.
When we do, we may see where the other person’s wounds, fears and vulnerability, and feel compassion for them. Or we might see their beauty, courage, and uniqueness, and respect them for it.
So the question to ask to get to this point of view is this: If I look at this through the eyes of love, what do I see?
Leigh-Ann Larson, M.Ed., LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor | Founder and CEO, Elevate Counseling Services
You need a change in perspective and reframe your thoughts
You can stop being critical of others when you stop “scanning the environment for what is wrong and start scanning the environment for what is right.”
When you live looking for problems, looking for the bad stuff, things that trigger your anger, fear or judgment, you are going to find it. Likewise, if you live your life looking for the things in others that you enjoy, make you laugh, smile or feel good about yourself, you will find these things as well.
When you want to change negativity and judgment, you need a change in perspective and reframe your thoughts about what you are focusing on.
Read related article: The 19 Best Positive Thinking Books
Like a photographer changing the focus on their camera with each changing environment, you need to change your focus with each new relationship that you engage in that triggers the inner critic. Instead of the negative, choose to look for what is good, right and authentic in people. This is the key to living a more peaceful and less critical life.
RMT Certified Coach
Add the phrase “just like me” at the end of your statement
We all do it. I’m famous for getting behind the wheel of my car, getting out on the road, only to start cursing out the person in front of me who is either driving insanely slow, didn’t hit the gas to get through the yellow light, or cut me off. And so I judge. My cursing is filled with a judgment of the driver in front of me. Just like me.
Yes, that’s what I said. Just. Like. Me.
When we judge others, we are holding up a mirror to our own personality. It bothers you because it’s a representation of you.
Have I ever driven insanely slow? I have in the eyes of some.
Have I purposely not hit the gas to get through the yellow light? On occasion.
Have I cut people off in traffic? Yup. I absolutely have.
It’s easy to find fault with others, but it’s not so easy to see those faults in yourself. One of the best ways to recognize these faults is to add the phrase “just like me” at the end of your statement.
When you start to recognize the things you don’t appreciate about yourself, you have created space where you can CHANGE!
You now have a choice to change or accept these behaviors.
I’ve made many changes over the last several years. I’ve recognized behaviors that don’t serve me and I’ve changed them. I’ve also recognized behaviors that I LOVE about me and embraced them! The behaviors I’ve embraced I don’t judge in others. If anything I give them a high five and “good for you!”
Try it today. When you find yourself passing judgment on someone, say to yourself (or out loud) “just like me” . You may feel a little confused but search inside yourself for the same behavior. Once you find it I guarantee you’ll feel enlightened, and you’ve now given yourself the choice to change it or embrace it.
Co-Creator, Art & Alchemy
Being critical of others comes from one word – Judgement. If you are judging others harshly, it usually means you are judging yourself severely.
There are three ways to minimize judgment, and by extension become less critical towards others and yourself:
- Awareness. Be aware of the moments you have judgemental thoughts. Dispel that thought by challenging it. Challenge yourself to look at the situation or person differently. And don’t judge the judgment. Just allow it to be. When you step back and look at the judgment as an idea you have with non-attachment you are able to place it in perspective.
- Be compassionate. What if you find out that the person you are judging had a tragic experience that led them to exhibit the behavior you judged? You don’t have to agree with the behavior. But understanding the potential source can bring out your compassion and temper your judgments.
- Remember what you see is not always the complete story. You don’t know everything. Many times the judgment you are making comes from the fact that you are working with a small percentage of the information. Think about if you had to purchase a house only based on the picture of one window. How many times would you make a bad purchase?
Author | Musician
I took a Dale Carnegie training. Dale Carnegie is the author of books such as “ How to Win Friends And Influence People .”
Among the most difficult of his suggestions are the “Three C’s: Don’t Criticize, Condemn or Complain.”
It isn’t so much that you have to pretend that someone else’s faults don’t exist. If someone in your life is causing problems, those problems are real. However, telling them about it may not be the best strategy.
In the first place, criticizing someone changes the relationship into a kind of ultimatum: “Our relationship/friendship/workship is at risk because you are doing this bad thing, and it can only be fixed if you stop.”
Then it’s no longer an interrelationship with balance and finesse, but a cause-and-effect see-saw that relies on them to make the next move based on your negative comment.
The second problem is that criticizing someone effectively reduces your power.
Once you believe that someone else is responsible for fixing your broken relationship , you won’t do anything to fix it yourself. By not criticizing someone, you bring the focus back onto what you can do to improve the relationship and how far that will take you.
Of course, at some point, the other person will have to change if the situation is to be rectified. If you have created a situation in which you are actively working to change what’s been happening, and you come in with suggestions for the other person which they can easily implement, you can bring about the improvements you want without ever having to criticize them at all.
The whole thing isn’t about them anymore, it’s about what the two of you want to do together and how to do it.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Wisdom Within Counseling
In order to stop being overly critical of others, it starts with yourself
When you speak to others, it is a reflection of your inner landscape and the way you talk with yourself. If you beat yourself up emotionally, tell yourself that you aren’t good enough, and are mean to yourself, you will naturally be critical to others too.
Instead, use positive affirmations, such as, “I am doing a great job, I am calm and at peace, I am good enough, I am perfect at this moment.”
By speaking to yourself with compassion, you’ll be less critical of others in time .
Also, have a friend or trusted partner help keep you accountable. If you are being critical, they can let you know in a gentle, kind way, to help you stay focused on your goal .
Emily Sheera Cutler
Certified Practitioner and Trainer of Emotional CPR
Increase your empathy and compassion for those you are inclined to judge
One way that we can be less critical of others is to practice in our daily lives what is known in the mental health field as “trauma-informed care.”
The core tenet of trauma-informed care is to ask not, “What is wrong with you?” but, “What happened to you?”
Trauma-informed care assumes that every person is doing the best they can with the circumstances they’ve been dealt and that however they are behaving is a natural reaction to something going on in their life.
The principles of trauma-informed care don’t just apply to those who have undergone brutal acts of violence or severe loss; they can also be applied to the smaller traumas of daily life – social and romantic rejection, financial hardship, workplace bullying, unemployment, family dynamics, etc.
When you find yourself criticizing someone else, stop and ask yourself, “What might this person be going through that I don’t know about? What might be causing this person to behave in a way that I find strange or rude?” Reflecting on these questions can help increase your empathy and compassion for those you are inclined to judge.
Health and Wellness Expert, Maple Holistics
If you want to be less critical of others, you need to start with being less critical of yourself.
If you practice treating yourself with more encouragement and compassion, you’ll begin to start treating others that way as well.
If you have a criticizing thought, you can say something positive instead. Practicing how you want to behave will train your mind how to think differently.
You can also try to be more empathetic. Before you criticize someone, put yourself in their shoes. There is definitely a reason why they are behaving the way they are, it’s just your job to figure out why.
If you can’t find a reason, just know that everyone has their reasons, whether they’re good or bad doesn’t give you the right to judge them.
One of the first things you learn in journalism is to find out the “5 W’s and 1 H” of any story you write:
If I’m tempted to be critical of someone, I’ll quickly run through these factors in my mind. If I’m missing any of them, it’s usually the “Why” or the “How.” I will then withhold judgment until I find out: “Why” someone may have acted a certain way; or “How” they came to the decision I’m being critical of.
Once things are put into context like this, the criticism melts away. The “5 W’s and 1 H” approach takes a little time to develop, but it is a powerful framework for producing empathy and understanding.
JRNI Certified Life and Business Coach
Criticism happens when we focus on another’s flaws and pass judgment but others aren’t the cause of our unhappiness – we are.
We blame and project outwards onto others because it’s easier than taking responsibility. Instead of being critical, we can turn inwards and kindly ask ourselves, “What am I getting out of criticizing XYZ for this? What’s the feeling at the root of my criticism?”
Sometimes we’re reacting out of fear or jealousy. It takes time and self-awareness, but with practice and grace we can stand above and look at our criticisms without getting lost in our emotions causing them.
Founder | Editor-in-Chief, I AM & CO
The best way to stop being critical of others is to remember that everyone is working with a different set of tools.
These tools include our upbringing, our emotional state, our mental state, major life experiences, and ingrained beliefs. There’s so much variety in what shapes our decisions and that variety are what makes us human.
That variety is also what causes friction between us. But, when we remember that everyone is doing the best they can with what they know it allows us to grant others the same grace and freedom to grow that we want for ourselves.
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How to Deal with Critical People
It’s not always easy being on the receiving end of criticism. But with a few expert tips, you can learn how to handle overly critical people.
Dealing with criticism and feedback is a part of life.
When that criticism is negative, you might feel judged. Your natural response may be to try to defend yourself or simply walk away. But doing so can sometimes escalate the situation.
There are ways you can handle unhelpful criticisms and avoid making the situation worse.
What is criticism?
When most people think of criticisms, they think of rude or negative comments.
You may immediately think of that person who judges your decisions or talks at length about what you’re doing wrong, or rarely has anything nice to say.
According to a 2020 study , criticisms are defined as negative feedback from others that’s often unpleasant but not uncommon. The researchers note that these criticisms are a part of daily social interactions with others that can’t be avoided.
Too much negative feedback can affect a person’s mental health, often playing a role in the developing and recurrence of conditions such as depression and schizophrenia .
Negative criticism from mothers may even predict whether a child will develop depression, according to a 2021 study .
On the other hand, criticism can also be positive.
A 2020 study found that positive criticism can lead to positive improvements and boost self-efficiency — a person’s belief in their ability to complete particular tasks. And higher self-efficiency has been linked to lower symptoms of depression and anxiety .
Why are some people so critical?
There are several reasons why a person may be more negatively critical of others.
Erica Cramer , a licensed clinical social worker in New York, says, “When someone is overly critical, chances are it has more to do with them than you.”
Most of the time, people who are overly critical of others may not even be aware that they’re doing it.
Neena Lall , a licensed clinical social worker also based in New York, adds that critical people may also feel anxious. This can lead them to subconsciously think that criticizing others may help them manage their anxiety.
If your mother teaches you how to drive and she’s an anxious driver herself, she may manage her anxiety by criticizing you, Lall says.
Other reasons a person might be more critical include:
- low self-esteem
- sense of superiority
- history of receiving criticisms in childhood
4 tips for dealing with someone who constantly criticizes you
When you’re faced with a critical person, you can use strategies to help you deal with the person and their comments.
Consider the source
Consider who is criticizing you. Is it your mom? Your best friend? A co-worker?
“Before jumping to feeling bad about yourself, consider how much credibility you’re giving the person,” Cramer says.
Try to remind yourself that this person might not be an expert on this topic, or they may have other underlying reasons for being more critical about this particular situation.
Cramer suggests taking some opinions with a “grain of salt.”
Don’t take it personally
Criticisms may be more of a reflection of that person than of you.
“Sometimes people are critical because they’re projecting their own insecurities on you,” Lall says.
For example, if a friend feels insecure about their own body, they may criticize or make negative comments about your body.
Take a moment
It’s natural to react in anger to criticisms or to feel hurt or embarrassed, according to a 2020 study .
When we feel hurt, we may react defensively, leading to confrontation or an argument.
Before you respond, try to take a time-out. Consider excusing yourself from the conversation and taking a walk or taking a few deep breaths .
Taking a moment can sometimes help you get some perspective and process everything. This may help avoid arguments and make an already awkward situation even worse.
Become a rock
People who are critical of others are usually looking for a reaction. If you suspect this is happening, Lall suggests using the gray rock technique .
“This means giving boring non-answers to any criticisms you receive,” Lall says.
Here are a few example responses Lall suggests.
- “I’ll consider that” (even though you may not).
- “I heard you” (you heard the words, but you may not agree).
- “That’s a point” (they made a point, but it may not be right for you).
Take an empathetic approach
Instead of casting someone off because they’re difficult, try to cultivate some empathy for them.
“Sometimes, when people are hurtful, it’s helpful to take a more empathetic approach,” Cramer says.
Often people hurt others because they feel hurt themselves, Cramer adds.
Try to see the world from their point of view. This may help you understand the reasons behind their behavior. Once you understand this, you can feel compassion for that person.
Dealing with criticisms isn’t easy. Often, a natural response is to try to defend yourself, but this can sometimes make the situation worse.
Instead of becoming defensive, it may be helpful to consider the source. There may be some underlying reason why they’re being overly critical. Then try to see the situation from their perspective.
Trying these strategies may ease tension and prevent a situation from getting worse.
If you’ve tried these or other strategies and nothing has changed, it may be time to end that relationship .
If you need additional help, consider speaking with a mental health professional. They can help you learn to set boundaries or discuss other methods of dealing with critical people.
Last medically reviewed on March 31, 2022
6 sources collapsed
- Cramer E. (2022). Personal interview
- Jin-Yee Neoh M, et al. (2020). Disapproval from romantic partners, friends and parents: Source of criticism regulates prefrontal cortex activity. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7531840
- Lall N. (2022). Personal interview.
- Michelini G, et al. (2021). Multiple domains of risk factors for first onset of depression in adolescent girls. sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165032721000495?via%3Dihub
- Nash R, et al. (2018). A memory advantage for past-oriented over future-oriented performance feedback. content.apa.org/fulltext/2018-09034-001.html
- Peifer C, et al. Well Done! Effects of positive feedback on perceived self-efficacy, flow, and performance in a mental arithmetic task. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7300320/
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Being Critical? Are You Helping Or Hurting?
- July 16, 2022 /
- Dr. Stan Hyman /
- Couples Counseling , Life Coaching /
For some of us it is never good enough, regardless of how well we do.
When we project that same attitude onto others however, we can create some real problems in our relationships with them.
For example, spouses sometimes complain about feeling criticized by their partners. They might say that they don’t get nearly enough praise for many of the things they do but get sufficiently criticized.
Employees may say the same thing about their employers, frequently feeling criticized but rarely feeling praised, potentially creating a morale problem in the workplace.
Conveying criticism, especially if it is meant to be constructive, sometimes borders on an art form.
Many people struggle with their feelings of self-worth , confidence, good looks and general competency. Deep within they may feel vulnerable and, if met with a type of harsh or nonconstructive criticism, can feel hurt and become defensive or put off by such comments.
Why We Criticize
We criticize others and ourselves for many reasons.
We may be angry or frustrated: You may have had a bad day and end up criticizing harshly in a misdirected way of taking out your frustration. This is often done in a reflexive, knee jerk fashion and is almost always regrettable because the criticized person frequently feels unfairly targeted.
We may have an ego problem: Some people want to show how smart or powerful they are by putting others down and criticizing their performance. When arrogance drives criticism it generally serves no constructive purpose whatsoever.
We are simply being hurtful: In this case the motive is vengeance. We have decided that we want to hurt (emotionally) the person we are criticizing. This form of criticism comes from the darker side of our personality. It is not pretty but it does happen.
We may want things done differently: If you are an employer you may want your employee to do a task differently. You may not have been happy with the results in the past and want to change the way things are being done at the workplace.
We may want to help a person to improve: We may give an honest opinion in the form of feedback, wanting to help a person get better at something. When done in a supportive fashion such as offering a suggestion, the criticism may not only be acceptable but can also be appreciated.
How To Be Less Critical
If you are going to criticize someone, think about your reason for doing so.
Are you angry and want to hurt that person? Are you frustrated and want to lash out at someone? Are you showing off? Do you want to help?
Criticism can be constructive and helpful. If you have been accused of being too critical, even hurtful, here are some ways you can improve on the way you deliver your criticisms.
Be Positive: We typically think of criticism as being negative. If stated in a way that points out possible options and supports the person, it can be seen as quite positive.
For example: “I don’t think that couch looks good in that corner” can be restated as, “The room looks good, nice job. What do you think about placing the couch over there”?
If you have thought about your intent for offering criticism and actually want the person to appreciate your idea, then think about stating it in a positive way.
Make a Suggestion: In the example above a question is used to infer a suggestion instead of simply making a critical remark. Criticisms are sometimes perceived as assaults or attacks.
This is especially true when offered to a particularly sensitive person, or one who is likely to feel offended and behave defensively.
This could be done in a conversational way, using the simple question, “Would it be OK with you if I made a suggestion?”
If your intention is to help improve the person’s performance, then engaging in suggestion making rather than criticizing can set a better tone for accomplishing that objective.
Be Specific: Focus on the task or the project when offering your thoughts. Never focus on the person.
If a household budget was the subject for example, a statement like; “You were never very good at math” will not score you points in likeability. If you said that to your child or your spouse they would likely not feel good about themselves or you for that matter.
If however, if you were to say; “Budgets can be tricky and if you would like my help I would be happy to help you” you set the tone for dialogue.
Be Compassionate: Recognize how you might feel if someone were to criticize you in a harsh, aggressive or mean-spirited manner. Most of us have a difficult time accepting any kind of criticism, even if it is given with the best of intentions. Make suggestions that come from kindness and are well put or your remarks may get perceived as attacks and result in negative consequences.
If in doubt…wait! If you have an urge to criticize someone and are not sure how to say it or what your real intentions are, wait and think it through before saying anything.
The compelling feeling that you need to say something right at that moment may be driven by one of those negative motives mentioned above. You want to be sure of your intention and what you would like to achieve as your outcome.
Other articles of interest:
How To Overcome Obstacles
How To Become A Better Communicator
Agreeing To Disagree: The Path To Conflict Resolution
Click hear to learn more about communicating more effectively.
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About the Author
Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist, relationship expert and life coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He specializes in treating couples and business partners dealing with communication issues. He also works with couples struggling with powerful issues such as infidelity and intimacy.
Along with the above he treats addictions, anger, anxiety, stress, depression and work-life balance, much of which can be an integral part of any problem one faces.
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The pros and cons of being self-critical (and how to strike a balance).
It is easy to hear the term “self-critical” and be immediately put off. After all, it’s difficult to be our own critics. However, utilizing self-criticism means taking a more self-aware path to ensure that you aren’t overlooking any possible areas of self-improvement.
Self-criticism affects your self-esteem and can be a useful tool to identify patterns of weakness that you can look to eradicate by adapting your behavior .
Table of Contents
Self-criticism vs self-deprecation, self-criticism: a roadmap for positive change, the pros of being self-critical, the cons of being self-critical, final thoughts, more tips about building self-esteem.
In exploring the idea of self-criticism, one has to first consider what it means for the individual. It’s important to remember that there is a significant difference between being self-critical and being self-deprecating.
Self-deprecation is the act of putting oneself down, sometimes in an attempt to be humorous, but oftentimes out of a place of doubt and insecurity  .
Self-deprecation erodes one’s confidence. It isn’t something to use lightly, as your own self-talk will play a part in defining your existence and how you are perceived, and, more importantly, in how you perceive yourself.
At the same time, you can’t take yourself so seriously that you are unable to make light of your mistakes as you pursue self-improvement. There is, of course, a balance to be struck, and both self-criticism and self-deprecation can be utilized in moderation.
Learning the difference between the two is the key to pursuing a productive life that will allow your successes to compound and your failures to be reduced. While self-deprecation can highlight flaws in your approach to life, self-criticism is more concerned with addressing those flaws and then acting to correct them.
Self-evaluation as a tool can open your eyes to the problematic behaviors that are derailing your goals. By identifying those behaviors, you can identify the steps to become the best version of yourself.
“Your thoughts affect how you feel and how you behave. The way you think has the power to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” -Amy Morin 
This idea underlines the importance of not allowing self-criticism to blur into the realm of self-deprecating behavior. That will only work against you as you are attempting to constructively analyze your own behavior.
Auditing is necessary and good. Look at industries across the board and you will find that the most successful companies, people, and products have worked hard to refine their final output. Auditing your life, schedule, clients, contacts, and more will help you to identify the good from the bad.
If you don’t look back on what you’ve done and allow yourself to be self-critical of the areas that created more problems and less results, how will you learn how to avoid those missteps in your future endeavors?
Auditing with critical thoughts will allow you to build your own map to success by targeting behaviors that are ineffective in your pursuit of goals, and it will help you realize the changes that need to take place in order to correct for those inefficiencies.
Self-Criticism Opens Your Eyes to Areas of Improvement
In life, you ought to be your biggest fan and instill the confidence in yourself to show the world that you are worthy of the life that you’ve achieved up until now.
At the same time, however, you need to have the self-awareness to understand that you can feel like a million bucks while still having room for improvement. Learn to be self-critical enough to increase your overall success in the pursuit of your goals.
You can check out this TED Talk with Tasha Eurich to learn more on how to improve your self-awareness:
We all need to look in the mirror at times and work to identify the deficiencies in our own behavior in order to find room for improvement. So many people live their lives in a manner that allows no room for self-reflection and thus are missing out on key opportunities.
For example, many people complain about not having the money to save for retirement, but instead of working to identify a solution, they assume that it cannot be fixed. Some of those individuals might find that if they challenge themselves and open themselves up to criticism, they may find the source of their problem.
Perhaps they don’t have a proper budget in place and are spending more money than they bring in on a week-to-week basis. Being self-critical would help them realize this.
I’d argue that if we all spent more energy evaluating our place in life, how we got there, and where we want to go, it would clear up what is missing from the equation.
Self-Criticism Allows You to Realize Your Potential
By working to analyze your own behaviors and identify areas that need to be improved upon, you will be able to better strive to reach your full potential in life and unlock success.
Being self-critical will help you to go from where you are now to where you want to be, and it will increase your self-awareness. There are so many positives to be gained by adopting a self-critical attitude.
Read more about self-improvement: 42 Practical Ways to Improve Yourself
Self-Criticism Can Overemphasize Negatives
The problems that could arise if one is overly self-critical are not always clear, but there are a few issues that can pop up if you start being too hard on yourself.
If you are self-critical too often and don’t allow space in your own audit of yourself for praise, celebration, and reassurance in your victories, then you may be on a path of negative self-talk and perhaps even depression.
If you are constantly looking for what is wrong with your actions or pursuits while failing to see what you are doing right, then you aren’t utilizing self-criticism properly. While the line is thin, there is definitely a difference between appropriate, foundation-building self-criticism, and over-zealous, confidence-eroding self-deprecation.
Self-Criticism Can Lead to Negative Distortions of Yourself
One struggle I often see in individuals is with their own perception of self. If you have been raised to believe that you are a failure, for example, then you may not have a healthy expectation of yourself.
By being overly self-critical, you might be distorting your own self-image. The key here lies in utilizing the device of self-criticism correctly, which many people often do not do.
If utilized properly, self-criticism can be a fantastic tool, but if used incorrectly, it can have devastating effects on your own self-worth and confidence.
When used properly, self-criticism can be a tool for success.
We must work hard to ensure that we are in fact exercising a constructive analysis of our own behavior and not falling into self-deprecation.
Unfortunately, it seems as though many view the idea of being self-critical with a negative connotation. However, it can be an extremely positive and fruitful exercise if pursued with the right mindset.
It helps tremendously when you have a community of friends and family who also help to uplift you and encourage you as you are pursuing your dreams in life.
In evaluating your own situation and in attempting to constructively self-criticize, you should also take a look at the people you surround yourself with to try and better understand if those individuals are helping you in your aspirations or if they are holding you back as you work to better yourself.
“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn 
If you work to adopt a healthy version of self-criticism and avoid allowing it to delve into self-deprecation or self-doubt, then it will serve you well as a tool to lend support to your goals and aspirations.
- How to Build Self Esteem (A Guide to Realize Your Hidden Power)
- 13 Simple Habits to Cultivate Self-Compassion
- How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence
Featured photo credit: Elijah O’Donnell via unsplash.com
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In psychology, criticizing is linked with ego-protection, which means that people criticize others because of a perceived personal weakness. I
Overly criticizing yourself can dramatically affect your self-confidence and cause you to think poorly of yourself and others around you. Being
Finally, make sure that negative feedback is always given in the context of what can be done about it. Arguably, the worst thing IYSIGYI
Constant criticism is not constructive, encouraging, or inspiring. The act of being critical focuses on the negative aspects and does not offer useful
Criticism is so powerful it affects the way the brain programs itself, and it can be especially damaging for anyone prone to things like
Overly critical people criticize others to validate their own insecurities and to reaffirm the negative perception they have of themselves (and the world). It's
If others feel you are critical they may shut you out and feel negative feelings toward you
Why are some people so critical? · low self-esteem · insecurity · sense of superiority · history of receiving criticisms in childhood
We may be angry or frustrated: You may have had a bad day and end up criticizing harshly in a misdirected way of taking out your frustration.
Unfortunately, it seems as though many view the idea of being self-critical with a negative connotation. However, it can be an extremely