Signs You’re Too Critical Of Yourself

August 6, 2019  |  
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self-critical/perfectionism

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We all should allow for some level of self-criticism. Remember that criticism can be constructive, and being willing to accept the fact that sometimes we make mistakes and have room for improvement is actually how we’ll become successful. That’s just called being able to take feedback. We should be able to take feedback from others, and also from ourselves. Those who are not at all self-critical are, well, called narcissists. Or sociopaths. Ego maniacs. You can quickly see how never being self-critical can be a bad thing. That being said, some individuals err too far on the side of being self-critical—so much so that it’s debilitating. We should only be self-critical to the point that it enables us to make a change, and then be proud of ourselves. But some don’t get to that next step. Here are signs you may be too self-critical (but don’t be hard on yourself about that, too.)

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You tear apart good experiences

You can have an excellent experience—maybe a career success or a social experience like a good first date—and you’ll just tear it apart after. You’ll be down on yourself about the one thing you said wrong or the one way you embarrassed yourself. What others may have seen as a success, you view in a negative light.

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You focus on the two percent that went wrong

If you do something almost entirely perfectly, you get no joy in that. All you can do is focus on the two percent that went wrong. A boss can send back work you did, praising it, saying it was excellent, but asking you to change this one thing. You don’t even notice all of the praise—you fixate on the one change asked of you.

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You don’t see the value in your mistakes

You obsess over your past mistakes. Even though, on a conscious level, you see that they were good things—they taught you life lessons and made you grow. But even still, you see them as a black mark on your reputation. You wish you could’ve learned all you know without making those mistakes.

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You’re sad after victories

An unquestionably good thing can happen to you, and you feel…sad after it. The days after a victory, everyone around you high fives you, congratulates you, and tells you how happy you should be but…you aren’t. You’re too busy thinking, “Well I did that, but I’m still not where I want to be yet.”

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You argue with compliments

If someone pays you a compliment, you argue with it. You tell them why it isn’t true. You tell them why you don’t deserve it. You make people even feel dumb for complimenting you.

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You compare a lot

You compare your life—your successes and achievements—to others constantly. Even though, objectively speaking, you’re doing very well, you fail to appreciate that because you don’t have what that other person has yet.

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Goals sadden rather than excite you

The thought of your goals make you sad. You feel overwhelmed. You fret over all of the mistakes you’ll make trying to achieve them or the idea that you may not achieve them at all. Your goals don’t, sadly, make you excited.

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You’ll forgive others but not yourself

If you think about it, you forgive others for things constantly that you wouldn’t forgive yourself for. If someone makes a tiny mistake but otherwise nails something, you forgive and hardly even notice the mistake. But you can’t do the same for yourself. Part of being good at forgiveness is forgiving yourself, too.

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You fixate on pleasing the one critic

Ninety-nine out of 100 people could praise and love your work. But all you can think about is that one who didn’t. Rather than give thanks and appreciation to all who support you, you hunt down that one person who didn’t approve, ask them why, and try to gain their approval.

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You take professional rejection personally

You feel that professional rejection is a reflection of who you are completely. You can’t compartmentalize. You feel you’re a bad spouse/friend/daughter, all because something didn’t go well in your work life.

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You’re wealthy but still unsatisfied

Financially you’re doing quite well. Most of the people in the world would agree. You own your home. You can travel. Maybe you have some true luxuries like designer clothes and sports cars. But you aren’t happy. That can only be self-criticism at play.

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Your partner says you talk about it too much

Your partner has to tell you, often, to just get over it. He tells you that you’re monopolizing the conversation by obsessing over your shortcomings. He tells you you’re ruining vacation with your bad mood all over that one little obstacle.

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You don’t accept credit

You never take credit for the good things you do. You insist it was because of the help of someone else. Or, you just say that it’s actually not a big deal at all.

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You operate on fear

You don’t pursue your goals because the idea of achieving them makes you happy: you pursue them because the idea of not achieving them makes you miserable. You can’t imagine being happy if you don’t reach this or that goal. It’s the only way to happiness for you. Your vision is inflexible.

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You don’t feel you deserve to have fun

You struggle to enjoy things like vacation or simple movie nights. You think that relaxing is for the successful, and that’s not you.

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