A distinction has to be made between Self Awareness and Self Criticism. Being aware of our strengths and weaknesses, past failures and triumphs help us to learn and live better.
Self awareness is being aware of certain things without judging them and accepting them. With self acceptance comes the ability to bring about a change. Just like you cannot beat a child to make him conform or conform only by fear, you cannot beat yourself up to become a better person or do things more productively.
Knowing that you cannot fly is not a self criticism but it is a fact. So again a distinction has to be made between self criticism and knowing the facts. E.g. You cannot dance well – this maybe a fact – but thinking that by criticizing yourself you can become a good dancer is a false hope. Instead accepting yourself and changing – only if you want to as you have the choice – is a better option.
Myths about self criticism: In my counseling practice I have come across some beliefs that people hold about being self critical.
Myth #1: Being self critical will make me a better person – Many people believe that by criticizing themselves they can become better. On the contrary, self criticism will only lead to more negative perceptions about oneself.
Myth #2: Being self critical will increase my productivity
How does constant beating up of self increase productivity? It doesn’t.
How many times have you felt better after self criticism. Thinking that – “I’m a failure”, “I’m worthless”, “I can never do things right”, “I am always late”…etc – do these thoughts make you feel better. I know that they cannot. They only reinforce the old habits. Acknowledging mistakes is very good but constantly criticizing oneself for them, is not helpful.
Myth #3: Being self critical will motivate me to change myself:
When we think that by being self critical we can do our work perfectly, it shows that our self worth is tied to an attitude of perfectionism.
Here’s an article on self-perfectionism.
It is important to remember that these self-critical thoughts may not always be harsh. Sometimes they can be luring, soothing and can say – “It’s okay, let me start drinking again, it will help”, ” Let me not tap today”, ” Let me relax and not exercise”. Be aware that these thoughts also do not help. Being compassionate with yourself doesn’t mean giving up responsibilty for yourself. Being compassionate and non-self critical implies taking care of yourself, taking responsibilty for your well being and acknowledging and accepting mistakes of onself and others.
Therefore encourage yourself gently. Remind yourself of past successes. Acknowledge mistakes and learn from past failed attempts.
Be willing to learn gradually. Do not expect overnight miracles.
Tap daily 🙂
Even though I need to be self critical to change myself, I choose to find a gentle encouraging way to bring about the changes.
Even though I have resistance to changing my belief that self criticism can help me, I choose to release this resistance. And consider the possibility of positively motivating myself.
EFT tip from the Emofreetherapy FB page
You may sometimes find that when you are angry and feeling miserable, you do not want to tap to take away the anger as it feels right to be angry. You want to stay in that state. At that time allow yourself to feel miserable and angry for sometime but after awhile start tapping on each point without saying anything. Slowly you will start feeling that you want to change your emotional state.
~ Puja Kanth Alfred