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The Good: Self-criticism , or the act of pointing out one’s perceived flaws, can be a healthy way to increase self-awareness and achieve personal growth, but it may also prove a barrier to one’s self-esteem and peace of mind. It may often help facilitate the process of learning from one’s mistakes and can also be helpful when one attempts to overcome areas of weakness or unwanted habits.
The Bad: A high level of self-criticism that prevents individuals from taking risks, asserting opinions, or believing in their own abilities may be unhelpful or detrimental to well-being.
The Levels of Self-Criticism Scale, (Thompson and Zuroff), measures the two types of self-criticism: comparative and internalized.
Comparative self-criticism involves comparing to others & finding one’s self to be lacking. Self-critical people in this way often tend to base their self-esteem on perceptions of the way others feel about them and may view other individuals as superior, critical, and/or hostile.
Internalized self-criticism, may involve the feeling one cannot possibly live up to personal ideals or standards or the belief that one is deficient in some way. Even success is failure.
Self-criticism is experienced as negative internal thoughts about self; specifically about behaviors or attributes. When self-critical thoughts apply broadly rather than focus on a particular behavior, they may be more likely to impact well-being negatively.
The above statements don't focus on any particular behavior that can be improved upon. They apply negative mindset's on all fronts. They may affect confidence and contribute to the development of both physical and mental health concerns.
These statements, on the other hand, focus on a particular aspect of behavior that an individual wishes to improve. They are constructive rather than simply negative. This type of criticism is often more likely to lead to improved behavior and modifications of perceived shortcomings.
Excessively self-critical thoughts often have their roots in negative experiences with caregivers in childhood. Studies on relationships and attachments formed between parents and other primary caregivers show that the earliest bonds in life often have a significant effect on a person's future relationships as well as a person's sense of self.
When parents give children autonomy, encourage them to attempt things for themselves, and allow them to make mistakes without censure, children are more likely to develop self-confidence and grow up with a sense of security regarding their own choices.
Authoritarian parenting styles, which may be controlling and marked by rigidity, may have the effect of fostering negative self-perceptions and a low sense of self-worth in children. When children feel rejected by their parents, are not treated with warmth and compassion, or are frequently criticized, they may be more likely to grow up overly critical of both themselves and others.
Therapy can often be helpful for people who are self-critical to an extent that their daily function or quality of life is impacted. Although there is no one specific type of therapy that is used to address harmful self-criticism, a variety of therapeutic techniques may be beneficial.
One effective intervention for self-criticism is self-compassion / practicing kindness and understanding toward one's self. A therapist teaches ways to practice compassion and can help a person seeking treatment explore any potential barriers to self-compassion.
Respect yo-self after someone wrecked yo-self!
“A final word on self-criticism: Do not beat up on yourself. Even if you think you know your flaws, there is no need to advertise them. Most people won’t have noticed.” – Philip Toshio Sudo
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