How To Stop Being Self-Critical And Hard On Yourself

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how to stop being self-critical

The question of how to stop being self-critical has become a constant in most people’s minds, especially with the growing pressure to meet up to unrealistic expectations.

However, what is not normal is consistently feeling that way, and what is worse is that you are feeling that way due to negative self-talk.

It has already been established that the mind is a powerful tool, and misusing it can harm our mental and physical well-being.

Self-criticism can manifest itself in many ways, especially when a person feels like they do not meet their own personal expectations or standards, making them engage in negative self-assessments and feelings of emotional lowness.

If you have ever felt this way or are currently at this place in life, we will be addressing how to not be self-critical in this article and through consistent practice, you can start being kind to yourself.


How To Stop Being Self Critical -10 Ways

Below are 10 strategic tips on how to stop being self-critical and feel better mentally and emotionally about yourself:

1.  Realize You Are Not Perfect

One of the key tips on how to stop being self-critical is coming to terms with and accepting that no one is perfect, including you.

Accepting that you are a daily work in progress will make you more compassionate when you want to start talking down on yourself over any little error. No one is perfect, so breathe and free yourself from those demanding standards you have created for yourself.

Embracing this truth is foundational if you find some level of tranquility in your daily efforts. One of the importance of embracing that you are not perfect is that it gives you freedom and peace from a life of misery.

It saves you from chasing the impossible to living fully in your imperfection while pursuing personal growth and improvement.


2.  Forgive Yourself For Past Mistakes

how to stop being self-critical

The same way you strive to forgive people for their shortcomings every day is how you should forgive yourself for your past mistakes to move on without baggage.

You will travel faster and lighter when you do not allow your past to have a hold over you. Self-forgiveness allows you to let go of anger, depression, feeling of shame and guilt and even feelings of inadequacy.

Always remember that the past is the past, and most importantly, the mistakes have already been made; all you can do is pick up their lessons and do better through a conscious effort.

Forgiving yourself of your past errors is one of the fastest ways to stop being self-critical. Pick yourself up, move, and refuse to allow yourself to get overwhelmed by self-criticism because you are not your mistakes.

This is easier said than done so I have complied a helpful guide for how to forgive yourself for past mistakes. You can read it by clicking here.


3.  Focus On Your Strength

You must have heard the saying that whatever you focus on multiplies. If you are looking for how to stop being self-critical, then you need to focus less on your weaknesses or else they will look bigger.

It has been found that focusing on and improving your strengths is one of the keys to happiness and success, but in order to do that, you must be able to identify your area of strength.

Anyone who has ever achieved anything significant and of great report had focused intensely on that particular thing and improved on it over time through consistent practice.

Focusing on your many weaknesses and failing at them will only make you feel like a loser which is not valid. A famous quote from William Young Elliot says it best, ”Live in terms of your strong points, magnify them, let your weaknesses shrivel up and die from lack of nourishment”.


4.  Challenge Your Thoughts

Our thoughts drive our feelings and also our actions. Our thoughts affect our self-perception. The good news is that we can navigate the direction of our thoughts so they don’t drive us.

This means we are capable of challenging our thoughts to be positive. In trying to see how to not be self-critical, we can start by always using daily positive affirmations upon ourselves so that our minds can think about those things.

Aside from daily self-affirmations, other ways of challenging one’s thoughts, especially negative thoughts, is by being intentionally mindful.

This includes focusing on reasons to be grateful no matter how little, documenting your thoughts, taking note of the triggers of negative thoughts like stress so the cause can be tackled instantly and looking ahead to greater things.


5.  Develop Yourself Daily

If you have ever wondered, “How do I overcome self-criticism?” you may find the answer in daily self-development.

Instead of exhausting your energy and emotions in negative self-talk, which only leads to low self-esteem and depression, it will be more profitable to use the energy to develop yourself.

To improve yourself daily, you can take a course to improve on your strengths, go to the gym to get your dream body, and go on a diet to feel better in your body.

You can also invest and read relevant, inspirational books to build self-confidence. Working on bad habits and breaking addictions is also part of developing yourself daily.


6.  Focus On The Present

how to stop being self-critical

Focusing on the present reduces anxiety which is one of the contributing factors to self-criticism. We are constantly surrounded by distractions making it challenging to focus on the present.

Regrets can also make it difficult to focus on the present moment, which is why the importance of self-forgiveness for past mistakes was stressed earlier.

Living in the moment is beneficial for productivity and overall wellness, especially in your mental and emotional health. To be properly focused on the present, you have to make a conscious effort to eliminate all distractions.

So, practice mindful stress reduction exercises and breathing exercises to help pay attention to bodily sensations and avoid multitasking to avoid being unnecessarily overstretched.


7.  Laugh At Yourself

Laugh. Yes, you should laugh and do it a lot. And if you can’t find any reason to laugh, laugh at yourself and do it far more than you scold yourself.

Have you ever found yourself asking, how do I turn my self-criticism into positivity? Well, this is one of the most potent ways and is no rocket science. Laughter is the best medicine.

Research has found that laughing strengthens your immune system, decreases stress hormones, increases blood flow and boosts your mood by reducing pain to the barest minimum.

A good sense of humor towards others and, most importantly, towards yourself lighten your burdens. Coincidently, it also helps you release anger and forgive. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.

Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being. Mentally, Laughter has been found to ease anxiety and feelings of undue pressure, the zeal to live, relieve you of stress and strengthens resilience and hope towards one’s endeavors in life.


8.  Stop Comparing Yourself With Others

how to stop being self-critical

Comparison is the thief of joy. People fall into the trap of comparing themselves to their age groups, classmates or even colleagues at work, forgetting that everybody is different.

For as long as you continue to compare yourself to the next person beside you who you perceive is doing better, you will never be genuinely happy in life because you have made your happiness dependent on another person’s life.

One of the ways on how to overcome self-criticism at work is to stop the lifestyle of perpetual comparison with other people. When you stop the comparison, you get happier and become less self-critical.

Much of the depression people experience today is discontentment with their own life which is usually due to comparison. You will never feel good within yourself as long as you constantly measure your life by other people’s lives.


9.  Use Meditation To Calm Your Mind

As basic as it sounds, meditation has a lot of physical, spiritual, mental and emotional benefits. It is a pointer on how to stop being self-critical.

Meditation can give a person who is always in doubt of his potential due to self-criticism a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit the total well-being, especially the well-being of the mind.

You can also use it to relax and cope with stress by refocusing your attention on the negative thoughts that plague your mind.

Meditation has been found to help gain new perspectives in stressful situations that overwhelm people, reducing negative emotions, increasing self-awareness, patience and tolerance and lowering high blood pressure.

If you are meditating to calm your mind and during the process you find your mind wandering off, do not get discouraged; remember you have control over your mind, so slowly return to the object, movement or sensation you are focusing on.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to meditate; what is important is the sole purpose for which you are meditating and that the meditation helps you reduce stress and detox from all that self-criticism.


10.  Visit A Therapist

how to stop being self-critical

A therapist is a professional who is capable of helping you identify the root causes of self-criticism and assist you every step of the way towards being and feeling better.

When excessive self-criticism begins to create mental health problems such as depression, social anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness, and you have probably taken all of the above steps mentioned, you have to seek the help of a therapist.

A therapist can teach you practical ways to eliminate barriers to self-compassion and, with frequent sessions, ensure that you are kept accountable so you do not relapse to the toxicity of negative self-talk.



It is essential to know that the list of how to stop being self-critical is inexhaustive, but this list is a great place to begin.

With consistent practice and a lot of intentionality with time, there would be a lot of difference in your approach to yourself when you do not meet certain self-expectations.

Instead of hounding yourself with negative words, you will pat yourself on the back, remembering that no one is perfect and you are doing your best.

You will remember that you are unique and cannot be another person when your past errors or mistakes come; everyone makes mistakes, but the most important thing is learning from them so you can keep moving boldly.

Save this for later!


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Author: Afam Uche

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