Pep Talk Sunday: Self Criticism

Grumpy cat - self critical
For those of you who are not clear about the term ‘Self-criticism’, let me break it down by dictionary definition:

1.Critical of oneself and one’s faults and weaknesses
2.Unfavourable or severe judgement of oneself, one’s abilities, one’s actions
3.The action of finding one’s own faults and shortcomings.

We can all be the biggest judges of ourselves at times, ‘I could have done that better’, ‘I wish I never did it that way’, ‘Why couldn’t I get it right? …yah di da di dah.

First things first. Some of us really just need to take a serious CHILL PILL…including me!

Chill Web ready

I don’t know about you, but I have a really bad habit of being very hard on myself at times, but all of a sudden when it comes to singing somebody’s else’s praises it seems too easy. Can anyone relate to this?

The question is why is it easier to spill our compassion and kindness to others then literally whip ourselves with a belt of criticism?

Now before all you ‘logical folks’ begin to stone this post…I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with wanting to push ourselves to our maximum potential, but some of us even when we have made an outstanding achievement, we fail to recognise it because of that ‘inner nasty’.

Grumpy cat - inner nasty 2

Now we can simply pin this type of behaviour on my lovely archenemy ‘insecurity’, but that wouldn’t be nice would it? And besides we don’t want to give him that much credit. (Yep, it’s a he because I said so. Problem?..No?..Good.)

Believe it or not, you will actually find that some of the most successful people are the biggest self-critics! And do you want to know why? Because they have set a standard for themselves, and what happens when you set a standard? You create an expectation.

What we forget is that what we expect in comparison to the hard reality will always be different. Take driving for instance…you expect to jump in the car, get to your destination and bing bang bosh you’re there! But who told you about the congestion? Who warned you that the car in front would break down and cause an obstruction? Or who told you that the old lady on her mobility scooter was going to cross the road on a green light?

Old lady cussing

I hope you get where I’m going with this and if you don’t just nod like Churchill and convince yourself that you do anyway! The point is in life we must always expect the unexpected…just because the A-grade student spent sleepless nights revising, it doesn’t make them exempt from getting an F. (Note to current students: this is not an invitation not to revise!)

Stop thinking

It’s not just about recognising what we get wrong all the time, it’s about learning how to improve. This means also learning how to keep that inner self-critic in check!

How do you do this?

1. Develop self-awareness (i.e. learn how to recognise the voice of your inner nasty)
2. Identify the truth or falsehood in what inner critic is saying.
3. Make a choice – , if inner critic is saying something constructive then by all means hear it out, but if its just plain and simply having a good ol’ pity party, show it the exit sign and keep it movin’!

As I always say ‘life is a journey’ sometimes our plans work and sometimes they fail miserably, but don’t entertain the habit of criticising your faults all the time. Just think, if we were perfect and lead perfect lives, yes we aren’t denying that it would be a lot more convenient, but where would the fun be?