Friday, 10 April 2009

Self Criticism

Negative self criticsm is often an aspect of low self esteem. If you find you are often too critical of yourself then try going through the checklist of questions below to help give some balance to your thinking:

1. Ask yourself: 'If I were talking to a friend who was in my situation and they were expressing those self critical thoughts, what would I say to them?' The response might include suggestions like:

‘Don’t be so hard on yourself’ OR ‘No one else noticed so it didn’t really matter’

2. Alternatively, imagine a reasonable and supportive friend is talking to you about your self critical perception of yourself. What might they say to you? This might include similar things to the above, or other points specifically related to the situation or to your qualities, such as:

‘Maybe this is not your strong point but you’ve got other more important qualities, like being a good friend’ OR ‘You made a mistake, that’s all. We all do it from time to time.’

3. Ask yourself if your self critical assessment is accurate or is it exaggerated? - If your self critical statement includes the words never’ or always’ you may be able to soften it by recognising that sometimes you make the mistake or act in the way you feel bad about, but on other occasions you do act in the positive way that you would like.

4. Often people remember mistakes and failures but not successes, so ask yourself if there any similar occasions when you have acted positively – Acknowledge that on this occasion you perhaps didn’t act as you would have liked, but remind yourself that on other occasions you have done so, to put the situation into context.

5. Even if your self critical thought is true, ask yourself how much it really matters? Is it a matter of life and death or just something that in an ideal world you might have done differently?

6. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. No one is perfect.

This checklist is taken from my low cost eBook on dealing with Low Self Esteem and Negative Self Criticism. To find out more about the eBook, visit the link below:

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