Self-Critique or Beating Yourself Up?


It’s really easy to develop goals, and aspire to self-betterment – what’s not always easy is following through on that.

Often, when we fail to achieve precisely what we want, in sometimes an unrealistic time frame, we can place further pressure on ourselves which can be counterproductive towards our end goals.

Perfection isn’t always necessary, a mistake or misstep is not the end of the world. Hindsight can be a wonderful thing, but it’s important to remember that you can only look into the past and not predict the future.

Don’t beat yourself up.

In small doses and when appropriate self-critique can be incredibly useful and is an important growth tool that we can use to introspectively look at ourselves and our approach to undertakings. We are all guilty of performing the occasionally stupid or poorly thought out task and the important thing to remember when we do something that is so obviously wrong is that we, as people, make mistakes.

Our brain isn’t perfect, we are not always working at 100% efficiency – often when we can be thinking ‘behind the scenes’ in our mind about a completely different situation and this can cloud our judgement with unconscious bias – this in itself can lead to harsh self-criticism.

If small doses of criticism to ourselves (and others) is acceptable and can be used as a tool to do better, why can’t we use it in large doses?

Put simply, it isn’t healthy for us.

Repeatedly self-criticising can be detrimental to our overall mental state, it can erode confidence and reduce your ability to think clearly.

Think of it this way, we all like to think we can take criticism and often, a small dose is ok, although that can still dent our ego. When however, have you ever accepted constant harsh criticism and abuse from someone else? You simply would not. So why take it from yourself?

Make no mistake; there is a difference between doubting one’s own abilities or wanting to give yourself a push to improve, and self-loathing.

Often, we can self-criticise because we want to make ourselves outwardly look good to avoid the criticism of others – it can actually cause its own cycle of pain and damage.

Instead of focusing on negative, learn from it, embrace it, strengthen it, and move on. Here’s a few of easy ways to do that:

Uplift yourself – Positive self-talk can have an undeniable effect on your mental state, big yourself up! Acknowledge your achievements, notice when people compliment you. Remember the positives and remind yourself about them.

Patience is still a virtue after all these years – Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither can you be. If you are working on a flaw, or are struggling with a situation then give yourself time to adapt and get better at it. Instant failure does not mean you won’t improve.

Comparison to others is not allowed – don’t focus outwards towards other people and how you perceive them to be better than you – chances are you don’t know the first thing about them. It’s not possible to be better than everyone at everything so don’t waste your time trying.

Feel good about yourself; this life thing doesn’t come with a manual!

Give yourself a break sometimes; you’re only human after all.