Sometimes, a bit of self-criticism can be the reality check you need to be a better person. Other times, it can cause us to concentrate too much on our so-called failures instead of ways we can improve. It’s the difference between looking at yourself in the mirror and saying “I should work out more” and “I am a gross, jiggly blob.” That kind of excessive self-criticism is neither helpful nor healthy, and your trash-talking inner critic can cause you long term effects, like depression and higher stress levels.
Put a muzzle on your harsh inner critic by following these tips:
Practice Possible Thinking
That’s right – I said “possible,” not “positive.” Staying positive is great, but if you are really down, your inner lie detector will go off when you try to force positivity, and you may end up feeling even worse.
Instead, silence your inner critic with possible thinking. Direct your thoughts to the neutral zone and state the facts. Instead of saying “I’m a fat cow,” say “I would like to shed ten pounds. I know what I need to do to reach that goal.” That factual, possible thinking gives you a direction to go in to make a change.
Take a Reality Check
Small semantic tweaks can really change your outlook and your life. Instead of saying to yourself “I’ll never get this done. I’m so disorganized,” train yourself to recognize the reality of the situation and say “I’m feeling in this moment that I am not going to get anything done.”
It’s a small change, but it can remind you that you are just having a moment. Think about it this way: it is the difference between “I am so stupid” and “I felt stupid.” The latter describes how you feel in a given moment, not who you are.
Think of Your Best Friend
Your best friend is someone you trust, right? Well, what would they say if you called ranting that you ruined your whole career by saying something embarrassing in a meeting? They’d probably say something like “Oh please, I am sure it wasn’t that bad.”
Give yourself that same kind of support. You deserve to be your own best friend as much as anyone else deserves your affection, respect and kindness. Give it as freely to yourself as you do to others!