05 Feb, 24

Self-Criticism: Understanding Its Roots and How to Overcome It


All of us criticize ourselves every now and then. It is good, as long as you do not overindulge yourself in criticism. But when it becomes too much, self-criticism can be troublesome. Are you someone who criticizes yourself way too much? Then this blog is for you because we go deep into the roots of the problem and provide you with tools to overcome it.

What Exactly Is Self-Criticism?

People evaluate their thoughts, behaviors, and achievements via self-criticism. We use society and personal standards to judge our conduct and accomplishments. People compare their current situation to a perceived standard or societal expectations. Inner voices can criticize and examine behavior. Constructive self-criticism involves objectively evaluating one's performance or behavior with the intention of identifying areas for improvement. On the other hand, destructive self-criticism involves overly harsh and negative evaluations of oneself. Depressed people equate self-criticism with guilt, shame, and sadness. When people think their actions don't match their mental standards, they could feel awful. These feelings often encourage people to fix problems or enhance their self-image.

What Causes Self-Criticism In Someone?

Self-criticism is multifaceted and impacted by numerous internal and external factors. People must examine themselves and their surroundings to understand self-criticism. Social rules and expectations are learned early. These become their criteria for judging their ideas, behaviors, and achievements. If they don't satisfy these criteria, especially if they think their true self is different from their ideal self, people may be self-critical.

Early life circumstances and parental upbringing also affect self-criticism. Children reared in households that applaud their triumphs and view failures as learning opportunities may develop better self-judgment. However, too much criticism or unrealistic standards as a child may lead to harsher self-judgment.

Perfectionism and caution can lead to self-criticism. For instance, perfectionists may continually critique themselves. Doing your best is excellent, but being too hard on yourself might make you sad and nervous. Thoughts influence self-criticism as well. Disrupted cognitive patterns like all-or-nothing thinking or catastrophizing can lead to negative self-evaluations. These mental flaws can amplify outside events and increase self-criticism.

Why Can Too Much Self-Criticism Be A Bad Thing?

Self-criticism can harm mental and physical health in numerous ways. These negative impacts can impair enjoyment and living capacity in both mental and physical ways. Constant self-criticism can lead to the following:

Increased Stress and Anxiety

Self-critical people are always on alert because they fear failing to achieve their own or society's expectations. This enhanced awareness triggers the body's stress reaction, raising cortisol levels. Chronic concern from prolonged stress can harm mental and physical health. Expecting criticism may also create a cycle of worry that makes it hard to relax.


Self-criticism and negative thoughts can worsen and create depressive symptoms. Focusing on defects and failures all the time can lead to depression, pessimism, and diminished enjoyment of once-fun activities. Self-criticism can prolong depression and make it harder to escape the cycle.

Impaired Self-Esteem

Constantly criticizing oneself diminishes self-esteem. Constant criticism ruins your self-image and self-esteem. People who frequently criticize themselves may struggle to appreciate their strengths. This can perpetuate poor self-esteem in many aspects of their lives.


Perfectionism involves high standards and never giving up. Over self-criticism is associated to perfectionism. People who are continually pressured to be flawless may be dissatisfied because they regard even little imperfections as failures. The urge to be flawless can lead to burnout since achieving an unachievable goal is intellectually and physically exhausting.

Fear of Failure

People who are harsh on themselves dread failure because they regard it as an indication that they are not good enough. This fear often prevents people from taking risks or pursuing challenging possibilities. People who don't want to fail may not improve personally or professionally because they avoid self-criticism.

Impaired Relationships

Being overly harsh on oneself might hinder successful relationships. People who are excessively harsh on themselves may project their worries onto others, making communication and trust difficult. Fear of being judged or condemned can keep people emotionally isolated and prevent them from developing meaningful relationships.

Procrastination and Avoidance

Putting things off and avoiding them might indicate self-criticism anxiety. People may procrastinate or not accomplish tasks to avoid self-disapproval. Putting things off can increase shame and self-criticism, which can cast doubt on one's abilities.

How Can You Overcome Self-Criticism?

Self-criticism takes time to overcome. It often involves self-awareness, altering negative thought patterns, and developing a more realistic and compassionate self-image. The following can help people quit self-criticism:

Cultivate Self-Awareness

This involves several processes, including understanding your own thoughts and feelings. Meditation helps people become self-aware by increasing present-moment awareness. Regular mindfulness can reveal tendencies of self-criticism. This enhanced awareness helps people notice and interrupt habitual negative thought processes, enabling radical change. Self-awareness helps people understand their self-criticism and why they do it. This enhances their inner worldview.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

Cognitive-behavioral techniques drive active negative thinking management. Organized analysis can help people examine their negative beliefs and seek more balanced viewpoints. This deliberate mind reconstruction prevents negative self-talk, allowing for a more positive and truthful self-image. Regular use of this strategy builds brain resilience, which improves problem-solving.

Practice Self-Compassion

Psychologically, self-compassion implies being kind and understanding to yourself when circumstances are challenging. Kristin Neff's self-compassion concept encourages people to recognize their sorrow, be nice to others, and be human. Compassion implies being aware of your experiences without criticizing them and being kind to oneself. This purposeful shift softens self-criticism and promotes a more positive inner conversation.

Set Realistic Standards

To assess and adjust personal standards, one must thoroughly examine their standards. Some people can adjust their objectives to match a more realistic and fair framework by considering how achievable certain requirements are. Better thinking entails admitting that mistakes will happen and that perfection isn't achievable. As humans, we all have shortcomings, thus the new criteria emphasize progress over perfection.

Focus on Solutions

Focusing on solutions rather than concerns helps people see challenges as chances to develop. This technique prioritizes problem-solving over problems. You can handle problems and not give up with this approach. Answers help individuals manage life's obstacles.

Celebrate Achievements

Practice celebrating successes. Applaud your own achievements, big and little. A victory notebook lets people measure their growth. Recognizing your accomplishments, no matter how small, increases self-esteem. Encourage positive experiences to fight self-criticism. Creating a positive reinforcement system boosts perspective.

Seek Support

Consider seeking support from trusted friends, family, or mental health experts to combat self-criticism. Communicating outside of work enhances creativity and communication. Trustworthy confidants may provide support, encouragement, and information, making people feel heard.

Practice Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Exercises

Self-compassion and mindfulness can help you understand and accept yourself. Self-compassion writing and loving-kindness meditation may help. Their positive thinking and self-wishing are more prevalent. This builds self-compassion and emotional strength.

Limit Social Comparison

Knowing your social comparison score helps you understand its effects. Understanding that everyone has skills and faults may improve self-esteem. Focusing on self-improvement rather than external goals reduces excessive expectations and self-criticism.

Set Boundaries

Avoid self-criticism from stress or unnecessary expectations by setting and keeping to appropriate limitations. You must know your limits and be able to say "no" to achieve this. When people prioritize self-care and balance their lives, they create an atmosphere for positive self-evaluation. This reduces burnout and negative self-image from over-commitment. Setting and following limitations is essential to a healthy, happy existence.

Don't Be So Hard On Yourself

Humans are imperfect, and that in itself is the beauty of being human. It is okay to make mistakes, and everyone makes them in plenty. So it is high time you stop being so hard on yourself and cut some slack. If you feel like your self-criticism is deep-rooted, let Zivanza help you untie the knots and rewire your brain like a clean slate.


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