“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Gustav Jung
Expressing disapproval for a person or a thing comes naturally to most. While criticism in moderation can help to identify a fault or problem that is worth examining, it can also become a slippery slope of negativity with unintended consequences. Self criticism may allow us to learn from our mistakes, but it can also paralyze us with doubts and fears.
In today’s complex and fast-paced society, insisting on total control or seeking perfection are high-water marks that are rarely, if ever, achievable. Learning to limit unhealthy self criticism of ourselves can improve our mental and physical state. As the old adage states, “We are own worst critics.”
Steps You Can Take To Turn Criticism Into Self Appreciation
1. Do To Others As You Would Have Them Do To You
While it may seem counter-intuitive at first glance, understanding how to curtail criticism towards others is a solid first step in improving your own state of mind. Learning to criticize those around us less often helps to prevent the tendency of expecting too much from others. The immediately limits negative interactions that cause avoidable stress in our day-to-day lives.
Becoming less critical of others provides us with a path to follow when we turn our attention inwards. It takes practice to learn self-appreciation and the discipline required to change how we view others is transferable to how we view ourselves.
2. Become The Change Outwardly That You Want To See Within
The people that interact with you will learn how to treat you partially based on how you treat yourself. Expressing critical thoughts about yourself in front of others can influence their opinion of you in a negative way. It can also encourage them to become over-critical.
This can be even more devastating in front of children. This can lead to less appreciation for you in everyone’s eyes. Learning to avoid verbal criticism in front of others teaches us to keep our doubts and fears in check while fostering a healthier mindset.
3. Learn To Recognize Who You Truly Are
No matter where you go, there you are. Self-doubt and expecting too much from yourself can lead to serious depression. Become more realistic about what you can expect from yourself. Only then will you be able to set realistic goals that are obtainable.
Remember to stay in the present. Dwelling in the past not only prevents you from moving forward, it can fuel doubts about your present position. Continuously looking towards the future can also be detrimental in developing self-appreciation, especially when unexpecting obstacles turn up. Focusing on yourself at this moment can fend off the depression that often develops from self criticism.
4. Learn To Appreciate The Good… And The Not So Good
Your inner critic will remain silent if everything goes according to plan. Unfortunately, this rarely happens in our day-to-day lives. Learning to appreciate our efforts can go a long way towards realizing that often an outcome can be good enough. Flipping the script on your inner critic is a wonderful way to appreciate yourself.
Finding a way to pull some good out of a bad situation will also produce results. Everyone fails, and everyone makes mistakes. Place yourself in a loved one’s position, and become more constructive. There are silver linings that avoid criticism.
5. Accept Compliments From Others
When we become over-critical about ourselves we tend to shy away from compliments. At a time when we need to hear them the most, we tend to turn a deaf ear on the appreciation that others express towards us. It becomes very difficult to accept positive accolades when we feel so negative about ourselves.
Practice accepting these positive statements even if you feel they are undeserved. A simple “thank you” can help to eliminate the criticism that prevents us from being appreciative of ourselves and our situations.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Understanding ourselves can help to limit the damage caused by our inner critic. There are times though that all of the work we put in is simply not enough. That, in itself, can make matters worse.
If you find yourself struggling with your self-critic, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. Talking with someone who is equipped for the conversation can produce real results. Healthy and wholesome practices may overcome stubborn self-doubts and fears.
Some Final Thoughts…
Recognizing an over-critical mentality is a big step towards a more positive lifestyle. Taking the time to understand ourselves allows us to put into practice habits that can break the negative cycle. Learning to appreciate yourself allows you to work free from limitations and creates a healthier you!