Self-criticism is a common internal struggle that many people face. It can erode self-esteem, hinder personal growth, and increase stress and anxiety. The good news is that you can combat self-criticism and foster a more positive self-image with practice and mindset. In this blog, we’ll explore eight empowering exercises to help you on your journey to self-acceptance and self-compassion.
From overcoming self-criticism to helping with ADHD, sleep, parenting challenges, and more, BLOOM offers a variety courses to support your family. Discover courses on Self-Confidence, Emotional Control and Regulation, Parenting a Needy Child, Anxiety, and more.
8 Ways to Overcome Self-Criticism
A person who struggles with self-criticism can build up their image of themselves by learning to accept their flaws and practicing mindfulness to promote positive self-talk.
1. Practice Mindfulness. If you are not already, start by becoming aware of your self-critical thoughts, in addition to what triggers these thoughts. Mindfulness exercises, like meditation and deep breathing, can help you observe these thoughts without judgment. This awareness is the first step in combatting self-criticism.
2. Keep a Journal. Maintain a self-compassion journal to record your self-critical thoughts and feelings. Write down moments of self-criticism and counter them with self-compassionate affirmations, or the closet you can get to a positive statement, even if it’s neutral. This process helps you recognize harmful patterns and reframe them positively.
3. Challenge Negative Self-Talk. Learn to challenge your inner critic. When you catch yourself thinking negatively about yourself, ask, “Is this thought based on facts or distorted beliefs?” Replace unkind self-talk with more realistic and compassionate statements.
4. Self-Compassionate Affirmations. Create a list of self-compassionate affirmations and repeat them daily. In order to reach a stage of acceptance, it’s helpful to create a list of acceptances about yourself, for example:
“I accept that I am shy when I meet new people.”
“I accept that I don’t always sound so smart in front of my manager since he intimidates me.”
And so on...
5. Create a Gratitude List. After creating your list of affirmations, on a separate page, create a gratitude list–a list of all the things you are grateful for about yourself. For example:
I’m grateful that I have a good relationship with my co-workers, and they appreciate my listening ear.
I’m grateful that I am intelligent and a whiz at computers.
I’m grateful that I can draw well.
And so on…
6. Set Realistic Goals. Avoid setting unrealistic standards for yourself. Setting achievable goals and celebrating small victories will help you build self-confidence and reduce self-criticism.
7. Embrace Self-Care. Prioritize self-care routines that cater to your emotional and physical well-being. Taking time for activities you enjoy, such as exercise, reading, or hobbies, can boost self-esteem and reduce self-criticism.
8. Visualization. Visualize a compassionate version of yourself. Imagine this supportive self offering comfort and encouragement when you’re feeling self-critical. Visualization can help reshape your self-image.
Overcoming self-criticism is an ongoing process that requires patience and self-compassion. Whether it's your acceptance or gratitude list, read through these affirmations daily until you begin to internalize them. After a few weeks, you’ll feel more confident in yourself. You will also feel more confident in both your flaws and your strengths.
Once you’ve accepted your flaws and are aware of your strengths, you can view yourself positively since you don’t see yourself as only a person with flaws. Instead, you see yourself as a human with both flaws and strengths.
By incorporating these intentional exercises into your daily routine, you can begin to shift your internal dialogue from one of self-judgment to one of self-acceptance and kindness.
For parents, combatting self-criticism often comes in the form of support at different points on your parenting journey. From infant and toddlerhood to parenting teenagers, there are challenges every step of the way that can make you feel like you are floundering, even when you are far from it!
Every child is precious, special, and has unique needs. Whether your child requires extra care from specialists or you are in the throws of parenting a toddler or a teenager, BLOOM is here to make it easy.
We provide videos, exercises, practical guidance, and how-tos to help you support your child so you can grow together. Discover our in-depth courses that equip you, the parent, to take over key elements of supporting your child with expert instruction and practical methods on everything from motor skills to tantrums, attention issues, sensory issues, and more.
With the help of BLOOM, you gain what you need, plus regain the joy and positivity of raising your one-of-a-kind child.
Bloom is available to all parents, and we are ready to welcome you.