We all have that inner voice whose sole purpose is putting you down by pointing out all your flaws and inabilities, and making you feel absolutely useless, don’t worry you aren’t alone! We shall henceforth refer to this voice as “Our Dear Friend!” – please note the heavy Sarcasm!
Even if it may not always feel like it, our dear friend that keeps you second guessing yourself time and time again, can actually be a driving force and a great motivator, IF USED CORRECTLY!!
Self criticism is quite a powerful tool, depending on the type of person you are, and how you use it, it can either be quite damaging to your confidence and morale or it can be that kick in the butt that makes you realize your mistakes and pushes you to work harder, and improve your business and let’s face it, who wouldn’t need that kick time and again?
Understanding Self Criticism.
It’s a common misconception that being overly critical with your actions and progress generally in life, is a way of keeping yourself in check and holding yourself accountable, whether its meeting a certain deadline, or making that meeting on time or just scheduling that meeting! The truth is quite the opposite.
Dr. Juliana Breines, whose research focused on how social experiences shape the way you treat yourself, how negative and positive forms of self treatment affect your mental health, found that basically a balance is required when administering a dose of self criticism because if you go overboard you might end up making yourself feel more worthless, hence slowing down your progress; And as an entrepreneur, this can be quite detrimental to your business.
Like everything else in life, balancing out your self critique and making sure our dear friend doesn’t have a negative effect is crucial.
There are several things you can actively do in order to achieve this balance. Research shows that instead of focusing too much on self judgement, you need to think objectively and ask yourself questions that will provide actual solutions.
So let’s unpack the 4 main steps to do in order to turn your self critique into your best motivator, according to Dr. Breines:
Changeable VS. Unchangeable Attributes.
Research has shown that criticizing your unchangeable traits is futile, (obvi right?) well not as much as you’d think. People often focus on all- encompassing, negative & permanent aspects of themselves (Often using phrases like “I’m just not *insert relevant adjective* enough) and as you’d expect, it may lead to depression, and even Learned helplessness.
What you need to do is change your behavior, and use a more optimistic approach, you would be surprised how changing your mindset from a negative to a positive state can have tremendous results.
For instance : You ran late for an important meeting because you didn’t prepare well, and then lost an important contract. Instead of berating yourself for what happened, you could plan everything a day or two in advance.
Criticize external circumstances BUT DON'T FORGET TO CHANGE THEM.
Blaming situational factors for our failures, is one of the most common things we all do. Even when we are blatantly at fault! So instead of stopping here and continuing this unproductive cycle, after you identify what the problem was, MAKE A CHANGE!!! It’s up to you break the cycle and improve yourself.
Compassionate Goal Setting.
Did you know that research has actually shown that seeking out compassionate goals has a lot more positive outcomes than self image goals, including, happier relationships and more support.
Also the broader focus on how your actions will affect other people will help you make changes that will benefit both them and yourself. This also completely shifts your perception of other people, practicing compassionate goal setting will make you see people less as rivals and more as allies.
This last one is the most important one, so pay close attention.
Self-Compassionate Self-Criticism, this is especially important if you are prone to being particularly hard on yourself, and prone to shame. Self compassion is what balances out the scales. an interesting analogy that was put forth by Dr. Brienes:
“Self-compassion is like a parachute that allows you to glide safely down into the parts of yourself you’re afraid to look at. It won’t let you get off easy, but it also won’t drop you down into the depths of despair”
Self compassion is acknowledging you failed but also realizing that YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE!
Whoah well that was heavy, i hope it was as uplifting to you as it was for me, And now, I hope that it has given you that extra push you may have needed to get back on track and go forth to be the total boss babe we all know you are 🙂
Make one of your good deeds of the day sharing this post with a fellow #bossbabe and spread the word.
As always, looking forward to your input in the comments xx… Share with us, what are some effective ways that you’ve found effective when balancing your self-critique?
Author: Selam Ahmed
Selam Ahmed is many things: fun, loving, fierce supporter of women, bookworm and an eternal Philomath. She always takes things as they come and is ever excited to see what life has to offer next. She is a foodie that loves to cook, in the best of times and the worst of times, from a very young age cooking has always been a way for her to stay sane. As an upcoming blogger (can you guess what type of blog it will be? hint: FOOD!)and as one of the contributors to the Safe Space blog, she is thrilled to welcome you all to a community that is based on uplifting women. We’ve got your back. Always.