March 8, 2024

9 Effective Steps To Overcome Self Criticism And Love Your Life

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How to overcome self criticism? Before we dive into the topic: Here’s a scary fact: it’s actually kind of easy to feel ‘down on ourselves’.

Despite the fact that we, as a culture, have more money and leisure-time than anyone in history, our perfection-crazed world has ensured that simply looking at a magazine or turning on a television can be enough to bring on a case of the doldrums.

Here, though, is a guide to overcome self criticism, stop comparing yourself with others and practice self compassion exercises to breaking free of the media-based miseries – 9 ways you can ‘jazz yourself up’ and appreciate just how good things really are, right now!

#1. Overcome Self-Criticism and Love Your Body!

‘Whether you're a man or a woman! Left unchecked, a lack of body confidence can interfere with your quality of life, career and social time,’ says Weight Watchers counselor Jenny Garth

Fortunately, looking good is all about feeling good – which means it’s time to stop beating yourself up, stop comparing yourself to others and start self compassion exercises!

So let me ask you this: are you the type of person who looks in a mirror and instantly thinks of three things you’d change if you could?

The fact is, it’s easy to think of criticisms of ourselves. (I have a friend who talks about the ‘tiny DJ’ in her head who plays a loop tape of the same 10 self-criticisms over and over when she’s feeling low!)

But ask yourself this: would you speak of others you loved – your friends, your mum, your sister – the way your ‘tiny DJ’ speaks of you? I’d guess not, right?

So then, what makes it okay for you to speak of yourself that way?

Self-criticism is actually a choice we make – yep, we choose to talk to ourselves that way. (We just don’t know we’re choosing it!)

This is something most people find startling. ‘If I had the choice, of course I’d choose to love the way I look!’ tends to be the standard response. But here’s the deal – you do have a choice. You just don’t know it yet.

So here’s what to do: next time you think of a self-criticism, don’t fight it, argue with it, or attempt to deny it.

Instead, simply replace it with a compliment.

For example, instead of ‘I hate my belly,’ notice how thick and lustrous your hair is. Or how cheeky your smile is. Or how adorable that gap between your two front teeth is.

Remember this is a choice you’ve got to make to overcome self criticism and practice self compassion.

You can decide to ‘buy in’ to the junk your little DJ is feeding you … or you can smash his CDs with a hammer and install your own playlist.

But you’ve got to decide for yourself first – this isn’t going to happen by itself.

(PS- it might feel a little ‘weird’ at first; but then, so did most good things in life the first time we did them. Kissing comes to mind, as does riding a bike, eating spaghetti carbonara, and sex!)

In-A-Nutshell Nugget: Replace insults with compliments and feel your self-confidence soar!

#2. Beat Down Self Obsession to Overcome Self-Criticism.

Many women – and a growing number of men – are increasingly obsessed with their weight.

Weight is seen by many people as a means of ‘controlling emotions and your’ life: ‘I can’t control my love life or my career, but I can control what I eat!’

A word to the wise: weight-obsession leads to unhappiness more often than not. And obsessing about calories, fat grams, pinch tests, and bathroom scales is a surefire method of draining more happiness from your life.

The solution? Make the decision (there’s that concept again!) to leave self-obsessive behavior behind.

#3. How? Make the choice. Here Are a Few Examples to Overcome Self Criticism Related To Weight.

Flat-out refuse to count calories. Instead of joylessly sucking down grim ‘health cocktails’ of psyllium seeds, beetroot juice and cold-pressed wheatgerm, choose to eat for fun, pleasure, and nutrition

Throw away those stupid ‘skinny jeans’ that you use to figure out whether you’re as skinny as you were in college. (You might not ever be again. And the point is, WHO CARES?)

Take a hammer to the bathroom scales. If you’re not into smashing things (you should try it – it’s fun!), toss them in the bin and let the garbage-man take them away.

Next time you feel like eating a piece of chocolate cake, eat it exuberantly. Without guilt. Without remonstrance. With nothing but sheer pleasure. Afterward, go take a nap.

The point of leaving self obsession behind is to stop being so serious all the time. Life is fun – if we just let ourselves embrace it.

I like to ditch the rules and the self obsession and let the chocolate-cake flag fly!

In-A-Nutshell Nugget: Stop eating according to ‘the rules’ and start eating according to what you FEEL like eating. Stop being so serious and remember that food is a celebration of life and pleasure as well as nutrition!

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#4. Break Up With Your Toxic Friends To Overcome Self Criticism.

You know who I mean – the ones who do nothing but talk about saddlebags, diets, tanning, and teeth-whitening.

The ones who talk nonstop about body shape – their own, and others. The ones who criticize men and women who don’t conform to their own personal (magazine-influenced) ideas of what beauty should look like.

The ones who freak out when they turn 25 because it’s a ‘quarter-life crisis.’

The ones who get excited about stupid fad diets and believe that ‘spokesmodels’ really are worth listening to for their opinions (ummm … am I the only one who thinks that’s a little bizarre?)

The ones who TALK a lot, but never DO anything. You know who I mean.

One of the keys to having an amazing life is to have at least one friend who likes to do stuff.

You know FUN stuff. Stuff that involves DOING THINGS other than sitting around obsessing about appearance, diets, and crows’-feet. 

I’ve personally noticed that the friendships I have that are based around a mutual love of something (something that requires DOING, not just talking) not only last longer, but are healthier and more invigorating to me personally.

The friends I can run with, I stay friends with. The friends who come with me to walk in the garden, I stay friends with. The friends who just want to come round, plonk on the couch, watch TV, and gossip? I broke up with them all a long time ago.

I suggest you do the same thing. 

(Tip: ‘breaking up’ with a friend is hard to do if you haven’t done it before. If you want to wade in slowly – as I suggest you do – that should involve phasing that person out slowly and naturally, and then eventually, once you’re sure, you can have ‘a talk’ about why the friendship is not working for you any more.

But be gentle. You don’t want to make anyone cry.)

In-A-Nutshell Nugget: Toxic friends ultimately detract from your energy and drag you down. For a life zinging with happiness, choose to cultivate only relationships with people who truly uplift you and raise your vibration and energy.

#5. Make Happiness A Priority To Overcome Self Criticism.

Did you know that you can quite literally ‘retrain your brain’? Indeed, one of the most useful ways to boost your own self-image, self-worth, and even your basic happiness ‘set point’ is to work on your attitude.

Sophie Scott, author of Road-Testing Happiness, says a great way to reprogram your thoughts is simply to QUESTION them.

‘Remind yourself that just because you think something doesn’t make it true!’ she says. When it comes to ephemeral things like ‘attitude’, it’s easy to get discouraged – there’s no real way of telling if what we’re doing is ‘working’ other than by the subjective measure of how we feel.

The trick is to remember that happiness and mental health is a daily process, not something you can just get; you need to work on it daily.

Make a point of doing your ‘happiness exercises’ every day.

Don’t let a bad thought get you down just because you’re thinking it – remember, to reprogram your attitude, you’ve got to question your thoughts.

Mindfulness and being ‘present in the moment’ is also essential, says Scott. ‘Whether it’s your child’s soccer game or spending time with your partner, be in the moment.’

In-A-Nutshell Nugget: Just because you’re thinking something doesn’t mean it’s true! Make your happiness a priority by consciously reprogramming negative thoughts into positive ones.

#6. Reframe Your Negative Thoughts With Mindfulness To Overcome Self Criticism.

There are many ways for reframing negative thoughts into positive thinking.

Two of the most powerful are positive reframing and examining the evidence. These can help shift your interpretation of a negative situation and your feelings about it.

Positive reframing means finding the upside in a difficult situation. Think about a challenging time in your life, and then ask yourself about a benefit or lesson learned from the experience.

For example, imagine that you miss a deadline at work. Instead of dwelling on negative thoughts about yourself, you find the upside of the situation.

Perhaps the miss allows you to speak with your manager about your workload. Or maybe you use the situation to clarify with your manager about how to communicate your progress.

By finding the benefits of this challenging scenario, you can use it as a learning opportunity rather than a reason to question your self-worth.

Examining the evidence is another way to reframe your thoughts into positive thinking. This technique involves analyzing “the evidence for your interpretation of a situation.”

Consider a possible scenario that you think negatively about. Now ask yourself these questions:

  • How likely is it that the negative scenario will happen?
  • How often has the negative scenario occurred in the past?
  • What is the worst possible outcome of the negative scenario?
  • How likely is the worst possible outcome likely to happen? Can you handle it if it does?

Your answers to these questions can help you face challenges related to self criticism with more balanced thinking.

Like any skill, reframing negative thoughts takes practice. When you notice a negative thought, use these strategies to reframe it and make positive thinking a habit.

#7. Practice Self Compassion To Overcome Self Criticism.

Self compassion is basically approaching our experience with non-judgmental curiosity and emotional warmth. A willingness to take care of ourselves without listening to your inner critic.

Here are some examples of self-compassion statements:

  • “I am good inside.”
  • “I am worthy of loving kindness.”
  • “I am allowed to make mistakes, I’m not perfect.”

You can create your own phrases that fits your situation.

The idea is that over time, you’ll become familiar with speaking empathically to yourself and become more comfortable with the idea of being compassionate to yourself.

Self Compassion is a resource for resilience, and you are as deserving of your own compassion as others are.

  • Continue repeating the above phrases until you can feel the internal shift: The compassion and kindness and care for yourself becoming stronger than the original negative emotion.
  • Pause and reflect on your experience. Notice if any possibilities of wise action arise.

#8. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others If You Want to Overcome Self Criticism.

Human beings are social creatures, and comparison is common throughout our entire history. 

Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook bombard us with posts about what we lack. These apps are comparison traps that encourage us to question aspects of our own lives.

Too much comparison leads to unhappiness and low self-esteem. We become frustrated with ourselves for "not being good enough," or angry with others. 

Some real-life examples of comparisons are:

  • You see another woman walk down the street and think, “I wish I were as pretty as her." 
  • You see a celebrity posting on Instagram about their workout and tell yourself, “If only my body looked like his."
  • A coworker is giving a presentation, and you can’t help saying, “She’s a way better public speaker than I am."

Feelings of jealousy, frustration, and hopelessness emerge if comparisons continue. If left unaddressed, chronic anxiety and depression can stem from such behavior. 

To stop comparing yourself with others, people may look for others’ faults to make themselves feel better.

This is just as unhealthy as tearing yourself apart for what you don’t have or don’t look like. 

#9. Steps to Stop Comparison And Overcome Self Criticism.

Be aware of your triggers and avoid them.

Limit your time on social media.

Avoid comparing other peoples' "outsides" to your own "insides".

Use positive words and affirmations to keep your mindset healthy.

Remind yourself that "money doesn't buy happiness".

Count your blessings.

Focus on your strengths it will help you to overcome self criticism.

Celebrate other people's success and beauty.

Here are some wise words from others that are sure to help spark that urge to stop comparing your life to others and appreciate your amazing self just a little bit more. 

  1. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Rosevelt.
  2. "Stop comparing yourself to other people: you are an original. We are all different and it's okay." - Joyce Meyer. 
  3. "I don't want other people to decide what I am. I want to decide that for myself." - Emma Waston.
  4. "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you." - Dr. Seuss.

That's it. I will stop here. I believe you loved this powerful guide on how to overcome self criticism and love yourself. If you enjoyed reading please do not forget to share and comment your thoughts.

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Manish Yadav

My name is Manish Yadav and I’m the owner of the blog "Love Finds its Way". My advice does away with the manipulations and mind games recommended by magazines and the surface level advice of TV gurus… We’ll dive DEEP to you actionable steps you can use today. Over 900,000 men & women have transformed their lives, and I've been featured in Lifehack, Return of Kings, Menimprovement, Urban Dater, and so on...
...My only intention is to help you have all of achieve your dreams and desires and live a beautiful and prosperous life.
And we’re just getting started!

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