Last Updated on November 21, 2023 by Kayla
Do you feel like your own worst enemy? You’re always the hardest on yourself and rerun the same negative thought loop in your head?
Most people think that to be successful they need to be extra critical and push themselves beyond reasonable means. It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, less is more, and being too hard on yourself can hold you back from achieving your goals.
Here are three reasons why self-criticism is bad for you and three ways to start being kinder to yourself.
Self-criticism leads to self-sabotage
A small dose of self-criticism is necessary for reflection and growth. However, if you’re constantly putting yourself down, you’ll never reach your full potential.
Too much self-criticism leads to negative thinking, negative beliefs about yourself, and ultimately, negative actions including self-sabotaging weight loss efforts. So instead of motivating you to do better, self-criticism furthers you from your goals.
TRY THIS INSTEAD: REFRAME NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
When you notice a negative thought, use reframing to neutralize or spin it to the positive.
For example, let’s say you were “good” all day. You ate the salad you prepped for lunch, skipped the treats in the breakroom, then you caved and ate 1/2 bag of those stinkin’ sour cream & onion chips you told your husband not to bring home! 😩
You might think, “I’ll never lose weight” or “F$&% it. Might as well finish off the bag, so they’re not here to tempt me tomorrow.”
Instead, reframe these thoughts to “I am human. I slipped up, and I can make my next decision a healthy one.” Or, “I am working on the best version of myself.”
Self-criticism increases stress
Constantly putting yourself down creates unnecessary tension in your life.
Subsequently, chronic stress causes weight gain along with a host of problems, including inflammation, emotional eating, poor sleep, mood changes, and much, much more.
TRY THIS INSTEAD: RELAX AND LET GO
Mindfulness practices such as journaling, meditation, prayer, or breathing exercises help relieve stress. Self-care is a central topic of discussion in my online membership for women after bariatric surgery.
Self-criticism prevents you from taking risks
Self-development involves stretching your abilities beyond your comfort zone. If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never take the risks necessary to achieve your goals and reach your full potential.
Self-criticism leads to a fear of failure which leads to a fear of taking risks. So, instead of being afraid to fail, ask yourself if you’d regret not trying.
TRY THIS INSTEAD: ADOPT A GROWTH MINDSET
People with a growth mindset opt for personal growth over guaranteed success. They seek challenges rather than taking the easy road.
Setbacks are viewed as opportunities, not failures. Those with a growth mindset embrace and adapt to change. They make a habit of being uncomfortable!
Like everything in life, you’ve got to seek balance with self-criticism. Too much or too little leads to obstacles like self-loathing or narcissism.
Following the tips above, you can break free from self-criticism and go from your own worst enemy to your new best friend.
Words from the Wise
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”Louise Hay
Can you fathom the idea of accepting yourself as-is and embracing your uniqueness? Does this seem like a far cry from your current reality?
If so, it’s OK – and 100% normal.
It takes time to change your mindset and squash self-criticism. Of course, you’ll have moments of self-doubt, and self-criticism is bound to rear its ugly little head every now and then.
Be patient. Put in the effort and practice a growth mindset. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, view them as mini-experiments to learn what is and isn’t working for you.
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