It’s admirable to do your best and attempt to be the best person you can be. It only makes sense to examine your negative results in life and try to do better the next time. But it’s also easy to become too self-critical. A high level of self-criticism is detrimental to success and good mental health. Excessive self-criticism hurts your self-esteem and confidence.
Consider these signs that you might be too critical of yourself:
- You are paralyzed. One sign that you’re overly critical toward yourself is a lack of action. If you’ve been stuck in the same situation for an extended period of time, you’re too hard on yourself. Otherwise, you’d be out there taking care of business and making positive changes to your life.
- You’re slow to forgive others. When you can’t forgive yourself, you’re unable to forgive others. When you can let go and forgive yourself, you can do the same for the other people in your life.
- You’re never pleased with your accomplishments. It doesn’t matter to you that you shaved 10 minutes off your best 10K time or graduated from medical school. You’re bothered by the fact that you didn’t win the race or attend Harvard medical school.
- You’re not assertive. You have to be comfortable with yourself to feel comfortable with asserting yourself. Assertiveness also brings the risk of rejection. Being too self-critical can increase the fear of rejection from others.
- You consistently say bad things to yourself. There’s little harm in a small amount of negative self-talk. But a constant barrage of self-criticism is highly damaging. Imagine telling your child that they can’t do anything right and should give up trying. It sounds crazy when viewed from that perspective.
- You’re a chronic underachiever. Underachieving is both a symptom and a cause of self-criticism. Consistent underachieving is a call to action!
- Others feel comfortable being critical of you. The average person isn’t comfortable criticizing others. However, after they’ve heard you criticize yourself repeatedly, they’re likely to feel they can join in on the criticism.
- You criticize yourself in general terms, rather than just for specific events. There’s a difference between telling yourself that you’re not a good tennis player and telling yourself that you’re not good at anything. The general criticism is false and highly damaging.
- A lack of success at a particular activity doesn’t make you flawed at everything. It’s illogical.
- You keep your opinions to yourself. While you have every reason to avoid telling your neighbor she looks fat in her dress, you should feel comfortable sharing the title of your favorite book. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your opinions freely, you’re too concerned about being judged by others or saying the wrong thing.
- You spend too much time dwelling on your mistakes. Can you move on quickly after a short period of self-reflection, or do you dwell on your mistakes for an extended period of time?
- You find yourself unable to ask for help. It shouldn’t be difficult to ask for help. In fact, the more help the better! Are you afraid of being viewed as incapable? If so, you’re too critical of yourself.
- You can’t give yourself a single compliment. Everyone is good at something. Or maybe you know you’re good at a few things but don’t think you deserve a compliment. Either way, you’re being too hard on yourself.
You’re sabotaging yourself by being overly self-critical. You limit both your success and your mood. Realize how much you harm yourself with self-criticism. Learn from your mistakes and apply the information with enthusiasm.