There are two types of criticism. One comes from others and the other is self-criticism.
Criticism from others: they may criticize us and evaluate us.
This criticism usually comes from our parents or family members.
They are sometimes overly critical of us and what we do. From the time we are born we are aware of what others think about us.
We grow up wanting and needing the approval of others. First, we need our parentâ€™s approval.
We learn to do things that they want us to do so that they will give us approval. These learned behaviors became our usual pattern for dealing with issues.
Self-criticism: Somewhere through the growing process, we learned to turn the criticism inward, towards ourselves. Our parents may be gone but we are still giving ourselves criticism that our parents used to. This has become so automatic that we donâ€™t even realize we are doing it.
In order to change and grow, we need to change and eliminate the self-criticism. This is no easy task because this is a habit we have cultivated over a great length of time. You need to stop being critical of yourself and overly harsh on yourself.
People who are perfectionists tend to be harder on themselves than they should be. If you are a perfectionist you need to take heed and learn to allow yourself to be less than perfect.
Many perfectionists avoid doing things unless they know they are good at them. This limits their ability to learn and experience new things in life.
How to build self confidence?
Be strong in your beliefs and not listen to criticism:
In order to build self-confidence you need to be strong in your beliefs and not listen to criticism. This is often very hard to do. After someone has criticized you harshly itâ€™s hard not to replay the harsh words over and over in our heads.
You can listen to the criticism, take it in, but then not let it affect you. This requires some practice, as you have become programmed over the years to respond to criticism.
Distinguish between negative criticism and constructive criticism:
Start by becoming aware of criticism and being able to distinguish between negative criticism and constructive criticism.
Negative criticism: Negative criticism is aimed at us personally and does not include anything to help guide us in a better direction. If someone gives us a negative comment without offering a suggestion on how to improve it, this could qualify as negative criticism.
Be aware of negative people who seem to get enjoyment out of tearing others down. They may not have your best interest at heart. In fact, they may be way off base when it comes to what they are telling you.
This is because they may have skewed perception. They also may feel a certain amount of jealousy towards others and the negativity stems from their own insecurities.
People who have negative attitudes or who offer negative criticism should be considered toxic and you should try to avoid dealing with them as much as possible. If you do need to deal with negative people, reassure yourself that you are worthy of what you do.
Remind yourself that this person is only offering one opinion and that you donâ€™t need to put value in that opinion. Finally, tell yourself that your opinion is really the only one that counts and you are fine.
Constructive criticism: Constructive criticism can actually provide benefits to you. Constructive criticism offers comments and follows up with suggestions for change, and is an honest attempt to help you in some way.
In order for you to take in the comments and try something new you need to be open to change. Remember, though, that the person offering the constructive criticism is also just a person, with opinions, just as you are. You are free to consider their comments but are not required to act on them.
Try not to dwell on any type of criticism. Over-thinking anything is usually spending too much time on something that isnâ€™t that important.
Again, remember that you are the person that you have to please and if you are happy, thatâ€™s all that counts (as long as youâ€™re not hurting anyone in the process).
How to treat ourselves?
Place the most value in your own criticism and be sparing with that as well. People can be just as harsh on themselves as they can be of others, sometimes even more so.
Treat yourself with respect and love: Take care to treat yourself with respect and love, as you would others. Donâ€™t be too hard on yourself. Often, if you are overly critical of yourself it stems from parents that were over critical of you when you were young.
You may hear your parents telling you in your head when you do something wrong. Their words may still be with you today, even as an adult. Take charge of your life and become your own person.
As an adult you donâ€™t need to take criticism from others and you certainly donâ€™t need to give yourself negative criticism.
Listen to your inner critic: You listen to your inner critic because it has become your strategy for dealing with negative situations. You actually may feel comforted by having this voice inside you telling you how to cope with situations.
To find out when your inner critic is at work write down situations during the day where you are critical of yourself. At the end of the day find out what role your critic played in your day and what feelings you were avoiding.
Avoid over analyzing: Donâ€™t over-analyze. Many people that have low self-confidence tend to over-analyze every situation and conversation. Long after the fact they are still dwelling on exactly what was said, how it was said and what was meant by it.
They tend to come up with other ideas later for how they should have responded. You Donâ€™t need to analyze everything about it. Live in the here and now. In order to do that you need to let go of any preconceived notions about yourself and others. Stop judging yourself negatively.
Avoid making overgeneralizations about yourself: Try to see yourself in true light. If you have one mistake it doesnâ€™t necessarily follow that you will make other mistakes as well.
When you over generalize you use words such as never, always, every, none, nobody, everybody, etc. These words tend to lead you to incorrect conclusions.
Use filtering to see the world: Filtering is a method we use to see the world the way we want to see it. We look at the world only through our own filter and donâ€™t believe that there is another way to see things. To change this we need to first realize that we do it. Once we recognize that we can try to stop doing it.
Stop self blaming: Self-blame is thinking that is distorted because you blame yourself for everything, even when it isnâ€™t your fault. Sometimes you blame yourself for things that are out of your control or that you can only partially control.
One way to notice that you are living with self-blame is to hear yourself apologizing often. You may notice that you apologize for things other people do that you have no control over.
Start to take notice when you apologize for things that arenâ€™t your fault. Stop saying youâ€™re sorry when you havenâ€™t done anything wrong.
Ways to respond to criticism:
This article will help you learn how to filter and respond to criticism. Negative criticism can do damage to frail self-confidence. Keep in mind that when others criticize you they may have their own agenda. Learn to recognize what isnâ€™t true and respond to those who criticize you.
When you receive criticism follow these steps before responding.
- Look at the criticism objectively. Donâ€™t automatically agree with it.
- Ask yourself what the critic is saying. Make sure you understand.
- Is the criticism constructive?
- Is the criticism accurate?
- If it is inaccurate, correct the misconception with the critic.
- If it is accurate, acknowledge it to the critic and move on.
Many times criticism has roots in accuracy but is partially incorrect. In this case, make sure you respond to the misconceptions and acknowledge the parts that are true.
When you respond to the critic, be calm and prepared. If you need to, take some time and respond later once you have had a chance to review the situation completely.