Constructive Self-Criticism

By Rachel Puryear

We’ve all heard of constructive criticism, and how efforts to critique more thoughtfully and compassionately tends to yield better results than more toxic criticism. If you’re an empathic person (likely you are, if you follow this blog), you likely make great efforts to limit your criticism of others to the more constructive variety (or you might simply avoid criticizing others).

However, what about how you handle criticism of yourself? Are you as gentle and compassionate in self-criticism as you are with others? Even those of you who avoid criticizing others might still criticize yourselves relentlessly. Is your self-criticism also constructive?

Don’t get down on yourself, and beat yourself up if it isn’t. Instead, just read on for more about how you can critique yourself in a way that motivates you to be your best and meet your goals, while also leaves you feeling good, energized, and more hopeful.

Young woman looking happy and excited during a training session, wearing a black and pink floral jogging suit, and her shadow is behind her.

Focus on Specific Behaviors You Can Work On – As Opposed to General, Personal Attributes

Telling yourself things like, “I’m dumb,” “I always mess things up,” or “people don’t like me,” isn’t helpful. Instead, think more along the lines of, “I could learn more about certain subjects,” or “I need more practice at something,” or “I’ll find out how I can better improve my social skills”.

Look at How Situations Affect Your Behaviors, and Address Those

Do you tend to not like the way you act or feel when you’re around certain people? Maybe they’re not good for you to spend time with. Of course, it’s also necessary to own your own decisions. Instead, make a point to spend the most time with people who make you want to be your best, and who you like yourself better around. This might mean making proactive changes in your life.

Pay Attention to How Your Actions Affect Others

Rather than focusing on self-judgment, look also at how your actions affect other people – but again, think in terms of addressing specific issues, rather than getting down on yourself. For instance, think in terms of what would be best for your relationships with partners, friends, family members, colleagues, and others. Make the goal feeling more connected with other people, rather than judging yourself.

Exercise Self-Compassion

When you are ready to examine yourself more deeply – which will be necessary for personal growth – you might be in the habit of looking at aspects of yourself with a great deal of shame. However, exercising self-compassion in examining yourself can help you see yourself as a human with strengths and weaknesses, like anyone else – rather than as simply inherently flawed and bad. Acknowledging where you’ve made mistakes doesn’t mean you slough off responsibility for them, but doing so compassionately means that you don’t have to feel hopeless about it. That will help you to improve yourself rather than getting defeated.


Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to improving your behavior without tearing yourself down. If you enjoyed this content and want to see more of it, please hit “like” and subscribe, if you have not done so already. xoxo

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