Judging yourself unfairly means you’re overly aware of the things you or don’t do. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of over examining things you’ve said or done. How do you know that someone judges themselves unfairly? Here are 10 behaviors that reveal that someone is overly critical.
These Ten Behaviors Reveal a Person Who Judges Themself Too Harshly
Do you engage in these negative behaviors? Or do you know someone who does? These are the signs that you should show yourself some grace.
1 – Compare yourself with others
Comparing yourself with others is a slippery slope. If you compare yourself with others, you end up measuring yourself against someone else. These comparisons cause you to feel better than others or feel worse than everyone else. Neither assessment is helpful or accurate. When you fall into a comparison trap, you compare yourself to others in these ways:
This is self-destructive behavior and can’t get you where you need to go in life. You can admire people and learn from them, but avoid comparisons. Find positive ways to grow into the person you want to be without comparing yourself to those around you.
2 – Performance-oriented
Being performance-oriented is sometimes called trying to earn admiration. Being permanence oriented causes us to evaluate ourselves based on the respect we get from other people. We wonder if we’re performing well enough in life for people to like us. It’s judging yourself by what others think about you.
Well, known philanthropist and businessman Warren Buffett was quoted in Alice Schroeder’s book, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (October 27, 2009) as saying,
“The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard.”
The inner scorecard he’s talking about refers to what you value as necessary, and those around you appreciate the outer scorecard. He suggests that you’ll find peace in life when you figure out your inner scorecard rather than living by others’ outer scorecard. Having this approach helps you resist the urge to perform to get others’ admiration.
3 – Fear of what others think of you
Fear is never a good motivator. When you worry about what others think about you, it causes you to judge yourself unfairly. You may be tempted to do this, especially if you’re feeling down. You are usually your most prominent critic, and you may be tempted to fear the opinions of those you admire the most because you care about them. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when you fear what others think of you.
- Who do I most worry about impressing? Why?
- Do I feel like they won’t be my friend if I’m not ________?
- How can I admire them without fearing their opinions of me?
Remember that fearing what others think of you won’t help you as their friend, partner, or employee. Find peace knowing that they like you because of who you are, not because you’re trying to impress them.
4 – Perfectionistic behaviors
Perfectionism is the need to appear perfect in how you look, what you say or do. Nobody does everything entirely. Your desire to be perfect is exhausting and means you aren’t happy with who you are. You judge yourself as not good enough. Being a perfectionist is seen as a positive trait if it motivates you to work hard to achieve. But if it demotivates and discourages you, then you are judgemental and hard on yourself.
5 – Overly critical
Being overly critical of others usually means you’re also overly critical of yourself. Criticalness is like a mirror you hold up to others only to see yourself in the reflection. How can you tell if you’re overly critical of others and yourself? Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- Can you accept the fact that you’re not as smart, pretty, or successful as others?
- Can you accept others even if they have negative aspects to their personality?
- Do I evaluate others on their performance?
- Do you judge people by their looks?
- Are you disappointed when you see flaws in other people? Yourself?
Answering these questions can help you evaluate whether you’re critical of others and yourself. Overly scrutinizing others or yourself is never productive or helpful. Here are a couple of ways to stop being too critical.
- Be grateful: Instead of looking at yourself critically, look for your good qualities and be grateful for these.
- Ask yourself if being critical is worth it right now: When you’re tempted to be necessary, try to step back and ask yourself if it’s a helpful way to approach this situation. Will it solve anything or make it worse?
- Figure out why you’re so critical: When you feel the urge to criticize, ask yourself why—understanding why can often help you stop the cycle of critical thinking.
Like Eeyore, the old stuffed donkey in A. A. Milne’s books about Christopher Robin, you may feel like everything is gloomy. You lean towards pessimism, and it clouds your view of yourself and your life. Frequently seeing the negatives causes you to miss out on the good stuff going on in your life. You may feel hopeless about your future because negativity clouds your judgment. Negative people are prone to worry and anxiety. You may lack focus and the ability to concentrate.
Try these things if you fall into negative judgments about yourself and your life:
- Stop listening to yourself: Don’t believe everything you tell yourself. It’s easy to believe your own lies.
- Feelings are reliable: You may feel a certain way today, but good chance your feelings will change in a day or two. Feelings are never a reliable judgment of who you really are, so don’t depend upon them.
- Think about others: If you’re sitting around thinking about yourself all the time, you’ll end up being very self-centered. It can make your world very small and narrow. Looking outward helps you get the focus off you. Find places to volunteer or help out, like homeless shelters, a soup kitchen, or an elementary school. Studies show that giving to others lowers stress and helps people live longer. When you reach out to care for someone else, it makes you feel happier.
7 – Missed opportunities
The time you spend judging yourself is time you miss out on opportunities. It’s a time-consuming activity to be thinking about yourself all the time. It’s best not to worry so much about yourself and what others think. Get busy doing life and forget about self-judgments.
8 – Limiting yourself
Judging yourself unfairly creates limitations. You won’t allow yourself to try things because you assume you’ll fail. It’s a self-defeating approach to life. When you focus on your limitations or discomfort in a situation, it stops you from doing all the things you’re meant to do in life.
9 – Good evaluation, gone bad
It’s okay to judge yourself properly, It can make you a better person to evaluate yourself, but if you’re too hard on yourself, it’s not a helpful evaluation. Self-evaluation can make you a better person because you see your flaws and find ways to change. Healthy self-evaluation can help you.
- Create goals
- Try new things
- Get rid of bad habits.
- Find ways to improve yourself.
So, how do you know if you are healthily judging yourself? Ask yourself these questions.
- Does my self-evaluation make me feel hopeful or like giving up?
- Does evaluating my actions motivate me to change or make me feel defeated?
- Am I feeling encouraged to change or worried and stressed?
- Am I able to see my faults without feeling discouraged?
The effect your self-evaluation has on you is the test of whether it’s healthy or not.
10 – Can’t let go of your mistakes
Everyone gets critical of themselves once in a while, but if you can’t let go of your mistakes and find yourself rehearsing what you said or did, then you’re probably overly judging yourself. It’s humbling when you realize you have flaws, but being too hard on yourself won’t help.
How Can You Stop Judging Yourself Unfairly?
Remember you’re not perfect, and that’s okay: Beating yourself up for mistakes or imperfections isn’t healthy or productive. Accept your mistakes and flaws. Change what you can and let go of what you can’t change.
Forgive others and yourself: When you forgive others, you will find it easier to forgive yourself. Like you, people make mistakes. When someone at work acts stubborn, remind yourself that you’ve been stubborn too. It doesn’t mean you accept abusive behavior towards yourself or that you trust the person with your life, but you can let it go.
Find gratitude: Being grateful for who you are, your life, and what you’re doing is always helpful. It’s a positive way to stop the judge inside your head telling you all that’s wrong with you.
Being overly aware of what you do or don’t do is never helpful. It causes you to focus on yourself too much, so you become overly critical. This is a good indicator that you judge yourself unfairly. It would help if you found ways to stop beating yourself up. Hopefully, these 10 behaviors can help you break the cycle of negative self-judgment.