The phrase ‘everyone’s a critic’ has been used for decades to downplay the sting of negative comments and responses. Criticizing seems to have reached epic proportions in recent years, contributing to unhealthy self-esteem and erosion of both relationships and social interaction.
There can be many motivational factors behind chronic criticism. Apparent control issues, a need for dominance, or just plain selfishness may hide root issues of self-doubt, fear, anxiety, or a feeling of overwhelming responsibility for others.
10 Warning Signs of Over-Criticism
1. Critical of Self
Everyone makes mistakes, but for some any apparent flaw becomes a reason pick themselves apart. Do you find your efforts at work or with others are never good enough or criticize your appearance every time you look in the mirror? Extreme self criticism can lead to criticism of others.
2. Never Enjoy Anything
If you are such a perfectionist that all you can see are the flaws no matter where you are, you may have some serious criticism issues. If you can never just relax and enjoy the moment, it’s time to consider changing your thinking habits.
3. Critical Upbringing
If your parents or other responsible adults in your childhood were highly critical, criticism could be a learned trait. It becomes a bad habit you may not even be aware of, yet it affects every area of your life. One symptom of a history of criticism is the inability to accept or give compliments.
4. Focus on the Negative in Others
If it is easier to see the faults than the strengths in others, and it’s nearly impossible to give praise, you may be overly critical. If you can carry on a continuous negative commentary on others’ appearance, personality, work, or personal choices, the issue may be more yours than theirs.
5. Those Closest to You Say You’re Negative
Do your friends, family or coworkers comment on your inability to be happy or positive? Maybe it’s time to take those comments to heart and change your perspective. Have you been called a complainer? If you find yourself on the outside of the group because you never seem to have positive input, it may be time to change your view of life.
6. Easily Offended
Self criticism can also lead to an over-sensitivity to criticism from others. You may begin to perceive every word as a confirmation of a lack of self-worth. Soon you will find yourself in a continuous bad mood because nothing is right with either you or anything related to your life. This may result in even more isolation in a vicious circle of rejection and self-defeat.
7. Preoccupied with Missed Details
If a coworker or employee completes 95 percent of a project, but all you can see is the 5 percent that was not completed, you may be overly critical. If you cannot bring yourself to compliment any positive contributions or strengths in others or perhaps make useful suggestions for future assignments, but find yourself completely focused on imperfections it’s time for a mental change.
8. You’re a Micromanager
If you find you just can’t let go of a task that is being performed by another, whether at work or at home, but feel the need to constantly correct and remind others of expectations or goals, or if you feel a need to redo projects to your own liking, you may be overly critical.
9. Reluctance to Share Your Own Opinion
This may seem like a strange one, but being overly self-critical can lead to self-doubt. You may fear making a mistake yourself, saying the wrong thing, giving the wrong advice. Maybe you believe that your comments would be uninteresting to others. If you hold back in situations where you know you have helpful input, you may be overly self-critical, which leads to a negative mindset.
10. Physical and Mental Disorders
If you have developed a physically harmful disorder, such as an eating disorder or similar issue as a result of being overly self-critical, it’s time to seek immediate professional help. Continued over-criticism of others can lead to Narcissistic disorders or paranoia. If you find yourself more and more withdrawn in a world that is unacceptable on every level, seek counseling or therapy now.
Don’t allow a negative mindset steal your enjoyment of life. It is possible to learn to focus on the positive and delight in the little things. You can train your mind to pay attention to when you are slipping into a critical mentality, and you can learn ways to counteract those tendencies. When you do, you will be amazed at how good life is and how wonderful are the people you share it with.