How to Deal with Self-Criticism

· February 6, 2019
Self-criticism can have a negative effect on your mental health. How can you deal with self-criticism and start loving yourself more? Read on to find out!

Feeling anxious about something you’re really passionate about and want to succeed in is understandable. However, sometimes success is just not meant to be. If you learn how to deal with self-criticism, you’ll stop putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.

When you try to change how you act, the way you look, or who you hang out with, you can become a victim of self-criticism. This usually happens when you’re working on your goals and trying not to fail. Trying to change who you are to please everybody can take its toll.

Extreme self-criticism can negatively affect your mental health. It can also affect how you relate to people because it makes you believe people expect too much from you. Most of the time, those expectations don’t even exist. Now that we’ve agreed on how bad self-criticism is for you, how can you deal with it and start loving yourself more?

A boy learning to deal with self-criticism.

1. Don’t be your worst critic

First of all, it can be hard to realize you’re the only one pressuring yourself. It’s very likely that the people around you aren’t that demanding, but you still worry about what they might think.

You have to understand that this stems from your lack of confidence and the need for perfection. Constantly criticizing yourself about your accomplishments, appearance, or relationships is only going to make you feel worse both mentally and emotionally.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

Judging and overly-criticizing yourself can turn into vicious cycles. That’s why you need to learn how to distinguish between constructive and destructive criticism. Criticizing yourself over trivial things is toxic. Instead, don’t be so hard on yourself and learn from your mistakes.

Try to overcome the fear of rejection

Humans are social beings, which is why most of what we do involves other people. Therefore, one of peoples’ greatest fears is rejection.

If you’re too self-demanding, not being part of a group can lead to anxiety. However, you have to understand that not everybody is going to like you and that that shouldn’t be a problem.

Believe in yourself to reach success.

2. Learn from the cycles you experience

You can’t be happy all the time and, sometimes, reaching your goals won’t mean that much to you. Everybody goes through internal cycles, such as dealing with your hormones, or external cycles, such as dealing with relationships. It’s normal to experience some ups and downs in your day to day life, but you can’t be too hard on yourself for having a bad day.

How to deal with self-criticism

If this happens and you start self-criticizing, think about what happened that day, that week, or that month. That bad experience is going to affect how you feel about your accomplishments and you need to acknowledge what makes you feel down.

How you deal with self-criticism will help you understand why you feel and act the way you do.

Think about what you have accomplished

Even if you already know why you feel the way you feel but you’re still angry or sad, try this. If you go back in time and think about what you did right, what you accomplished, or how you made your loved ones feel proud of you, you’ll start feeling better. You’ll be able to picture yourself in similar settings.

A happy woman stretching at her work desk.

3. Do whatever makes you happy

You have to commit to doing what makes you happy. This way, everything will come easy to you and success will be guaranteed.

Finishing what you start will help you deal with self-criticism and will give you a reason to love yourself. Pick a job that makes you happy, keeps you active, and helps you form bonds with positive people.

No one is going to love you if you don’t love yourself first. Thus, you need to find happiness inside yourself and accept who you are.

  • Thompson, R., & Zuroff, D. C. (2004). The Levels of Self-Criticism Scale: Comparative self-criticism and internalized self-criticism. Personality and Individual Differences. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(03)00106-5
  • Longe, O., Maratos, F. A., Gilbert, P., Evans, G., Volker, F., Rockliff, H., & Rippon, G. (2010). Having a word with yourself: Neural correlates of self-criticism and self-reassurance. NeuroImage. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.09.019
  • Joeng, J. R., & Turner, S. L. (2015). Mediators between self-criticism and depression: Fear of compassion, self-compassion, and importance to others. Journal of Counseling Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/cou0000071