Toxic Self-Criticism: 8 Easy Ways To Successfully Overcome It

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Namrata Roy

06 June 2023

6 Mins

“A real sign of progress is when we no longer punish ourselves for imperfections “ - Yung Pueblo

At times, your inner critic can be annoying. At times, it's downright rude. And when it takes over, it stings a lot.

We all have an inner critic that tells us, "You are unworthy of your accomplishments," "You don't deserve this," or "You can't do this because everyone will despise you for it." It pushes us to a fork in the road where we must either listen to it and quit seeking the thing or go for it with hope and faith in ourselves.

Our thoughts have an effect on how we feel and act in our daily lives. Our self-confidence and self-esteem are influenced by how we see ourselves at the end of the day. And one way to deal with it is to get rid of the negative self-talk and toxic self-criticism that we all suffer from. Too much negative self-talk might suffocate your confidence and drive you to give up on opportunities you would otherwise have had.

Positive self-criticism can help you innovate and reflect on your activities, whilst negative self-criticism can drag you down into nothingness and the belief that you will never achieve greatness in life.

How Does Self-Criticism Affect Your Mental Health?

  • Your strained relationship with yourself might have an impact on your relationships with others.

  • Because you feel out of place, toxic self-criticism can make you withdraw from social situations and isolate yourself.

  • The moment you fail at something, you get consumed by an overwhelming sense of self-loathing and guilt.

  • You let go of great opportunities that come your way because the inner self-critic has already convinced you that you are unworthy.

  • Your negative self-talk drains you mentally and convinces you that quitting is simpler than trying.

If this describes you, you might be being too hard on yourself. I understand how difficult it is to silence the negative thoughts in your head, but there are a few simple ways to do so. Remember, it only gets easier; just take one small step at a time.

Effective Ways To Overcome Self-Doubt And Self-Criticism

Effective Ways To Overcome Self-Doubt And Self-Criticism

1. Write down negative self-talk

Here’s the thing: thoughts move quickly, very quickly. Because we can all think so fast, we can have thousands of self-critical emotions in only a few minutes. Unfortunately, each of those thoughts triggers an uncomfortable emotion like fear or despair, so being self-critical in your mind can quickly lead to a lot of self-blaming.

So, what is the most straightforward answer to this issue? Make a list of your ideas and write them down. It will provide you with a new perspective and allow you to understand how unreasonable they are. It also helps you slow down your racing thoughts; for example, instead of 100 negative points about yourself, you now only have ten!

2. Find counter-arguments to support your choices

Because you are overly harsh on yourself, your negative self-talk might get very intense at times. To avoid feeling inept or useless, try to counter your negative ideas with good responses. If your mind thinks, "This was a terrible idea," you might counter with, "This wasn't at all a bad idea because my supervisor appreciated the pitch's concept."

At the end of the day, all you have to do is defend yourself against your own self-critical ideas. When your mind tries to make you feel worthless or stupid for doing anything, try to recall the good consequences and use them as counter-arguments to your negative self-talk.

3. Allow yourself to embrace mistakes

Nobody is flawless. The more you strive for perfection, the more you will be let down. Because what you're after is nearly impossible to achieve. When you try to be perfect at something and fail, you lose self-confidence and stop believing in yourself. You may also start to believe that you are incapable of completing the task.

However, this is not the case. Accept and learn from your mistakes. Not perfectionism, but improvisation is the key to long-term success.

4. Be mindful of how you perceive yourself

The ability to be nonjudgmental about your own thoughts and feelings while keeping your concentration on the job at hand rather than on intrusive thoughts and emotions is a critical component of mindfulness.

When you start criticising yourself, it's easy to become caught up in it. Getting stuck in a toxic cycle of continuously blaming and loathing yourself can be extremely painful, especially if you can't break free. Mindfulness, though, can help you break the cycle and come back to reality. You can stop focusing on negative self-talk by employing your senses to feel your environment.

5. Find a balance between self-improvement and self-acceptance

There's a difference between telling yourself you're not good enough and reminding yourself that you can always do better. Accept your imperfections for what they are today while committing to future progress.

Although it may seem paradoxical, you can perform both at the same time: You may acknowledge that you are nervous about a pending work presentation while simultaneously deciding to improve your public speaking abilities. Accept yourself as you are today while at the same time working toward being a better version of yourself in the future.

6. Consider what counsel you would give a friend

Most people who battle with persistent self-criticism are empathic and compassionate toward other people and their mistakes, which is ironic. You probably wouldn't give a second thought if a friend misspoke during a chat, but when you make a minor error, you ponder on it for the entire time!

So, the next time you make a mistake, detect an error, or otherwise do something you regret, ask yourself, "How would I respond to a good friend who did the same thing?" Then treat yourself as such.

7. Stop blaming yourself for things you don't have control over

Over-thinking and blaming yourself is an understatement when you start thinking bad about yourself all the time. You develop a habit of putting everything upon yourself when things go wrong. "It's all because of me," you tell yourself, "I should have done it better." You keep over-analyzing the scenario and blaming yourself for things that aren't even true.

Stop holding yourself responsible for something you had no control over. Remember that they aren't actual thoughts, and you are not to blame. Replace your negative self-talk with good ones by engaging in various mental health exercises. Remember that your mind can be your greatest asset, but it can also be your biggest enemy if you can't control it.

How Can Now&me Help?

Learn to treat yourself the same way you would treat a loved one who makes a mistake. And if you're finding it difficult to do it alone, anonymously share your thoughts on Now&Me, and a community of caring strangers will be there for you.

Now&Me provides a safe and supportive platform to connect with experienced mental health and self care professionals who can offer you guidance and support.

Our peer community is welcoming, non-judgmental, and inclusive, creating a warm and supportive environment to share your thoughts and feelings.

You can interact with like-minded peers or seek guidance from experienced experts like therapists and life coaches, instantly. What are you waiting for? Download for FREE!


When you realise that you are having self-criticising thoughts, the first thing to do is acknowledge them. Reassure yourself like you would do to a friend if they were going through the same. Do not compare yourself with others as every individual has their own strong points that they can show off to the world. Figure out what your strong suits are without any biases and appreciate them.

When you provide yourself with constructive criticism after reviewing your work, not in a depreciating and discouraging manner, it is called positive self-criticism. Practising this can help you improve a lot in your job. No matter how good you are at doing something, there is always room for improvement.

When you want to improve at the job that you are currently working on, constructive criticism always helps. But you don't always have someone around to help with the evaluation. This is when you start executing self-criticism - to become a better version of yourself without depending on other people too much.

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