Are you impulsively self-critical when something goes wrong? And do you blame yourself for everything worse that is happening beyond your control? You might be feeling very depressed.
Self-blame and Self-criticism are harming you and you constantly feel it's you who can change everything and bring things on track. These further leads to self-criticism and self-blaming. The cycle continues and at some point, you may even feel there is no way out. But there is a way. Keep reading to understand how dealing with self-criticism can help you and how you could get out of self-critical thinking and lead a better life.
To some extent, it indeed is you who can change the situation and motivate yourself but at the same time, you can't change everything. Some things are beyond your control and in such cases, it is futile to be self-critical or self-blaming.
Self-blame is a distinct process, as it frequently develops into a habit. An impulsive reaction when things go wrong. There are many self-criticism examples like you might always feel inside your mind - "If only I had done this before, all this wouldn't have happened. It's entirely my fault." It's natural and common to feel this way after when we've been through a terrible or harmful event.
Self-blame is defined as a person's tendency to blame themselves when things don't go as planned, even though the circumstances were beyond their control. A series of self-blame events make a person feel bad and inferior all of the time.
Humans have an apparently limitless capacity for self-criticism. This is partly due to the false expectation that many individuals have that they must be perfect.
Although self-blame might make a person appear insignificant, it can prevent them from becoming more creative and trying to improve.
It's fine to have a little self-blame and self-criticism. It can help to tackle our flaws and take deliberate actions to improve them with some critical self-evaluation.
The issue arises when this becomes a habit, creating a negative, self-reinforcing cycle. This is since continual self-criticism can lead to a person getting trapped in negative ideas and feelings about oneself. They are so filled with remorse and humiliation that they have lost any drive to succeed. This inaction, if left ignored, can cause depression or other mental health disorders.
People who have a habit of criticizing themselves for everything that goes wrong are less likely to take action. This is because they wish to remain unnoticed to avoid attracting additional (negatively perceived) attention, and they anticipate that others will hold similar expectations about their talents.
Causes of Self Criticism and Self Blame
Most of the time, the negative inner critic is a result of poor life experiences in the past. These could be negative experiences with your parents as a child, peer bullying, or the result of a failed relationship.
There are many people who as a child were in traumatic situations like having fighting parents who put blame on you for their misfortune, or as a child, you were not given care and has developed the habit of blaming oneself or you may have been told repeatedly as a child that everything is always your fault. You may have learned to believe that this is a universal principle that applies to all situations and felt you earned the blame and humiliation. We unknowingly accept and integrate this detrimental thought habit toward ourselves and others.
Have you been bullied at school, at work, or in another relationship? Even short-term relationships with people can leave lasting impressions on your subconscious and personality.
If you have flashback recollections of seemingly unimportant situations with abusers from your past or present, the event may have left an indelible mark on your mind. You may find negative inner voice resembles the words of these bullies, it is more important that you detach yourself from the inner critic voice.
The negative inner voice can also be triggered if you were in a relationship with someone such as with your abusive partner, or coworker, or supervisor who is always putting you down or making you feel incompetent.
Any form of relationship has the capability to set a bad experience in your thoughts and develop an uncontrollable negative inner voice.
Have you ever been in a car accident, had a physical attack, or lost a substantial amount of money? If this is the case, the loss may leave you thinking, "Why me?" This might lead to feelings of embarrassment or guilt, especially if you believe you were to blame.
Daily life events may trigger your inner critic long after the initial traumatic events have occurred. A new coworker, for example, can bring up a poor professional experience from the past, or a new acquaintance might bring up a bad childhood memory.
Low self-esteem or negative self-image can trigger self-criticism. In such cases, even the small setback might be magnified into much greater ones when you have self-hatred thoughts. You might believe that the negative things that happen to you are contemplating your negative self-perception.
Mental Health Issues
Mental health issues such as anxiety or depression can also cause feelings of self-hatred. Depression, for example, can produce feelings of hopelessness, remorse, and humiliation, all of which can make you feel inadequate. The more your situation influences your ideas, the more probable it is that you will accept this negative perspective of yourself as your reality. You may feel unworthy and unwelcome or feel alone and separated from the rest of the group.
Effects of Excessive Self Criticism and Self Blame on Mental Health
Self-criticism is considered a normal part of life sometimes, but chronic or excessive self-criticism can lead to mental health difficulties like melancholy, social anxiety, body image disorders, and feelings of worthlessness.
When things go wrong, a tendency to blame oneself can lead to emotions of failure, lowness, or depression. When anything goes wrong, those who are overly critical of themselves may feel guilty or ashamed, believing that they are to blame. Perfectionism, self-harm, and eating and food difficulties are all linked to self-critical tendencies.
In some situations, a proclivity for self-criticism can lead to the projection of negative beliefs onto others, which can lead to the anticipation of negative feedback from others.
Interpersonal connections may be harmed when negativity and criticism are expected. As a result, both internal and external criticism may contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation, as well as a person's separation from others.
Self-critical people may find it difficult to express their needs and desires, and they are more inclined to be subservient in relationships with others because they are afraid of being judged if they speak up.
What can you do to keep self-criticism in control?
Self-criticism prevents a person from objectively evaluating their own efforts or abilities. It prevents individuals from engaging in healthy self-reflection, which would help them to be more forgiving of past errors.
Self-blame and self-criticism can paralyze us into inaction if they become the norm.
It is critical to maintaining healthy levels of self-blame and self-criticism. Simply put, it should serve as a feedback mechanism rather than a tool for constant self-criticism.
Steps To Keep Your Self-Blame and Self-Criticism In Check
1. Concentrate your criticism on your actions.
It is possible to alter one's behavior. As a result, when your inner voice becomes critical, it's time to confront your actions. Be careful not to criticize your own qualities, as you won't always be able to or need to change them. Your characteristics are a component of your individuality.
You risk drowning in irritation and depression if you criticize yourself for not being super-intelligent. If you instead blame your habit of wasting more of your time looking at the smartphone instead of studying, you'll be more likely to find ways to change the behavior and, as a result, change the outcome.
Concentrating on our actions rather than the qualities helps us to take responsibility for our actions. It is possible that you change for the better and not blame yourself.
2. Understand the difference between accepting responsibility and blaming yourself.
We have always been told to take responsibility for our actions. That's true.
But remember, when we take responsibility we are aware of our mistakes and we also know how to correct them. While self-blame is just blaming yourself for the actions. There is a better outcome in taking responsibility and you would improve yourself in the process but self-blaming has no advantages or positive outcomes.
Hence, rather than being impetuous in your self-criticism, attempt to examine the circumstance first. You must examine every element of yourself and consider how your behavior, influenced the result of the event. Accept your faults and devise strategies for improving yourself and the circumstance in the future.
3. Confront your critical inner voice.
The critical inner voice is established as a result of traumatic early life or childhood experiences in which we watched or experienced unpleasant attitudes toward ourselves or others.
As we grow older, we enable our inner critic to influence our conduct and affect the direction of our lives when we fail to recognize and detach from it. It has the potential to destroy our achievements or relationships, keeping us from living the lives we want and becoming the persons we want to be.
Challenge your inner voice when it tells you that you're a slacker, unworthy, or insufficient. Begin by keeping notes of the qualities you admire in yourself as well as your strengths. Keeping notes like this will help you value yourself more and criticize yourself less.
It will be easier to discard your negative self-critical thoughts if you work on self-improvement, your skills, abilities, and personality.
4. Avoid negative thoughts
One of the most effective methods for overcoming self-criticism and eliminating negative thoughts is interrupting them.
Interrupting your thoughts, on the other hand, can help you shift how you think about yourself and so feel better. Whenever your inner voice begins to feel negative, you might stop thinking for a moment or shift your thinking to a different topic.
It's crucial to keep in mind that altering unfavorable thought habits takes time. With enough effort, though, you will certainly be able to immediately interrupt undesired self-defeating ideas.
It's time to train your mind to focus on the positive after you understand how self-criticism works. Measuring your development rather than how far you are from your ideal state is an excellent method to overcome self-criticism.
5. Practice Self Compassion
Self-compassion is something we should all strive for daily, yet many individuals struggle to describe what it entails.
Self-compassion can assist you in breaking the cycle of self-blame. Accepting your mistakes, prioritizing self-care, and giving yourself the benefit of the doubt are all examples of self-compassion.
Give yourself a break and treat yourself with compassion. Whenever you find it's very tough and you feel it's your fault. Tell yourself that it is fine to be at fault. Everyone makes mistakes. We all are imperfect.
Try self-compassion exercises. Like just folding your arms or even holding your palms together can bring up the self-compassion levels.
When you practice self-compassion, you allow yourself to let go of mistakes you have done. You learn to move on instead of living in the past which is an important measure to overcome self-blame and criticism.
6. Mindfulness Interventions
Another helpful approach to overcoming self-criticism is mindfulness interventions.
Self-compassion comes from being mindful. Try meditation to calm down the criticism that you have. Meditation brings peace to the mind and changes its state. This helps in nulling all the negative thoughts you have.
Mindfulness is also been linked to increased self-esteem. Mindfulness refers to a nonjudgmental awareness of one's thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness therapy can help people gain a better understanding of their thoughts and feelings, and those who have better mindfulness skills may be able to verbally describe internal experiences, consider thoughts and emotions without judgment, stay present at the moment, and avoid lingering on or reacting to every negative thought. The ability to self-validate and question negative beliefs is thought to improve with mindfulness.
People who are self-critical to the point where their everyday function or quality of life is compromised may benefit from therapy. In such cases, it is important to reach out to a mental health professional to administer a suitable therapy. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with detrimental self-criticism, a range of therapeutic strategies may be helpful.