When you listen to your thoughts, what sort of things are you hearing? If you’re hard on yourself, you might hear almost nothing but negatives about yourself. Whether it’s chastising yourself for a bad decision from years ago or comparing yourself unfavorably to others, self-criticism can be hard to shake.
There are absolutely no benefits to giving ourselves criticism. So, it’s strange that people keep doing it. While we should be willing to evaluate our choices and change what needs to be changed, we shouldn’t be finding fault in everything we do.
If you want to stop self criticism and become happier, read this guide.
Listen to your thoughts
You might the best way to avoid criticism from yourself is to shut off your thoughts. Doing so is impossible and will only cause them to break into your mind, stronger than before. Instead, you should just let them play. Whatever you are thinking, let it come out. As they emerge, you want to observe them without taking them to heart. Mindfulness meditation is a great practice to help with this. As you breathe in and out, you can notice your thoughts one at a time. They can be allowed to stay for as long as they need to before drifting away on their own.
Evaluate your thoughts
When a thought comes, you shouldn’t latch onto whatever it says right away. You also shouldn’t try to shoo it away. Take the time to just notice all the qualities of your thought. How did it come up? What about it is true? What about it is untrue? How does this thought make you feel? By evaluating your thoughts, you can show that you’re not scared of them. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a proven method for successfully reducing negative thinking through proper analysis.
Thinking positively can often seem like an obvious and unhelpful solution. Some people think it means you need to act like all the criticism you’ve harbored for yourself can just go away at once. What it actually means is that you need to bring in positive thoughts to counter the negative ones. So, when you think of someone you don’t like about yourself, you should summon a positive thought or feeling. It can help if they’re related. For instance, if you have a thought about your job is unimpressive, you can think about how you’ve proven you’re capable of doing a job that not everyone can.
Stop relying on others for validation
While you can’t avoid criticism from others entirely, you can learn to not be so affected by what they think of you. The opinions of others should be welcomed, but it becomes a problem if you need them to determine your worth as a person. When you make a decision or state your opinion, you should do so because you want to and not because of what anyone else thinks.
Criticism has an easier time existing if you have nothing to do but ruminate. By distracting yourself, you can find things to focus on besides your thoughts. Think of fulfilling activities you can do. These could include reading a book, spending time with a friend, or working out.
A pen and paper can be your best friend when it comes to coping with criticism. Take a moment every day to write your thoughts. Whatever has been on your mind has a right to be written out. After about five minutes of writing, reflect on if you feel any better. Sometimes, you’ll want to vent. Don’t worry about grammar or phrasing. This is something that is only meant for you to work on and reflect upon. When you look back on previous entries, you might be amazed by how far you’ve come in your thinking.
Avoid all-or-nothing thinking
Negative thinking is so dangerous, because it causes you to think that you’re less capable than you are. All-or-nothing thinking plays a big part in this. When you decide that something is unachievable, you further reduce your confidence. While you might not be able to do everything you dream of, having a more optimistic point of view with really help out.
When you stop self-criticism, your life becomes a lot better. You no longer find yourself limited by phrases like “I can’t” or “it’s impossible.” There will still be challenges ahead, but you’ll know better than to let negative thoughts stop you.
If you have become accustomed to self-criticism, shaking off those bad thoughts is easier said than done. You need to turn positive thinking into a daily habit. Through repeated practice, self-criticism will be an unknown concept to you. Then, you’ll have a much easier time reaching your goals.