Stop Being Overly Critical of Yourself

December 8, 2015 Fay Agathangelou

Being overly critical of yourself leads directly to low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. Learn ways to stop being overly critical of yourself. Read this.

Being overly critical of yourself goes hand in hand with low self-esteem as well as other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Constructive criticism can be appropriate, healthy, and helpful at times; however, being overly critical is not. When you’re overly critical, you might have unreasonable expectations, exaggerate the negatives or you might be extremely judgemental of yourself. For a healthy self-esteem, it’s important to see yourself in a healthy, balanced way. To do that, you need to stop being overly critical of yourself.

Note that these tips are not intended as a substitute for therapy. If you're finding it challenging to stop being overly critical, I encourage you to seek the help of a mental health professional.

How to Stop Being Overly Critical of Yourself

  • Look out for signs of being overly critical. Notice your thoughts, words, actions and patterns you repeat. These might include putting yourself down or talking about yourself in a negative way. Stop putting yourself down because it's a form of emotional bullying.
  • See the positives as well as the negatives. Pay attention to the good things about yourself and get a more balanced picture. Everyone has their positives and negatives, and it’s important to stop exaggerating the negatives. Most importantly, don’t believe your negative thoughts because they distort the picture.
  • Balance feelings with thoughts. It can be easy to be immersed in your feelings and act according to emotion. However, just because you feel worthless doesn’t mean you are, and it’s important to not draw conclusions based on feelings alone. It might help to see things as an unbiased outsider, and consider a "rational" as well as "feelings" point of view. Being overly critical of yourself leads directly to low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. Learn ways to stop being overly critical of yourself. Read this.
  • Have reasonable expectations of yourself. It’s important to have healthy standards that are right for you. Having goals and aiming high is good but you need to stop being a perfectionist. It’s also important to stop comparing yourself to other people and avoid being overly competitive. Life is not a competition and you have your own journey. Look after yourself rather than focusing on other people’s expectations and comparisons.
  • Learn constructive criticism and let go of judgement. Learn to be constructive so you can learn and grow, both from your mistakes and areas you want to improve. Ask yourself what you could have done differently or what you could do better next time. At the same time, also reflect on what you did well. For example if you have social anxiety, turning up where there is people can be a big achievement.
  • Stop overgeneralisation. Overgeneralisation is distorted thinking and it’s not helpful. You’re not "stupid" or "worthless" or "ugly" and it's important to stop making those generalisations.
  • Learn to love yourself as a whole person. Self-love is important for a healthy self-esteem. It’s important to love yourself in your entirety, as you are right now, including your imperfections. Nurture yourself and treat yourself as a best friend. Give yourself permission to be happy because you deserve it.

Stop Being Overly Critical of Yourself to Build Self-Esteem

In this self-esteem video, I talk about tips on how to stop being overly-critical of yourself.

You can find Fay Agathangelou on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and her website.

APA Reference
Agathangelou, F. (2015, December 8). Stop Being Overly Critical of Yourself, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 from

Author: Fay Agathangelou

December, 8 2015 at 7:36 pm

You definitely nailed two of my attributes.
Exaggerate the negatives, and
Extremely judgmental of myself.
And yes, that leads to 'emotional bullying'.
I have been in therapy for about 1 year here in Idaho. It has helped. Taking Seroquel and Klonopin in low doses. Jogging helps a lot. Getting my mental strength back, but slowly.
Thanks for article.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 17 2018 at 5:48 am

I am really sorry for all the years I ignorantly was critical of myself. I lost lots of relationships. I'm truly grateful for Jesus bringing me to this subject. This was a way to another chance to love myself and to treat others with love

December, 9 2015 at 3:57 pm

This a topic I talk to my children about. We now have a child in middle school child and before the school year started we talked about always having self confidence about self. There's nothing wrong with making mistakes, but never to look at it as a negative mark, but to learn and make it into something positive in life.

December, 11 2015 at 12:04 am

I am not here,
I am not there,
I am not anywhere.
My phone never rings.
The sun rises, the sun sets.
Just another day.
My blue eyes see pale. Is it one feet or six feet? Does it matter. Life goes on.
The dark nights I see Orion and Beltegueses on its shoulder. Taures nearby. The Twins have Castor and Pollux. But whom am I ?
I don't know the ways. Mine have failed. Destiny is an endless road. What is success? What is failure?
My heart desires to know.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 20 2017 at 5:17 am


In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

John Too
August, 2 2017 at 3:09 pm

If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;

October, 14 2017 at 2:23 pm

This was amazing, thank you!!!

Elsidiana Lanfranco
July, 20 2018 at 12:39 am

I came to understand that I at ae 81 finally acquired self esteem. I am no longer negetavie regarding the future and finally enjoying my golden years a whole lot. My personality is changed a whole lot. People enjoy my company!

June, 18 2019 at 10:26 pm

Thank you for this article. It was much needed. It's a journey to self realization and overcoming the negative self talk for me. I have noticed the repeated themes of being overly critical of myself when I make mistakes which tend to hinder me from growing beyond that mistake because of the self offense i feel about even making the mistake. So much that i don't give myself permission to forgive myself and learn from it. I have a lot of growing to do with self love and acceptance of my mistakes and not allowing them to hinder me. Thanks a lot.

June, 28 2019 at 5:52 pm

Hi becca, thank you for your comment. We often forget that learning to forgive ourselves is a skill–it takes time to grow and strengthen the muscle. I'm glad this article resonated with you and I wish you luck on your journey of self-esteem.

Ebehi ANTHONY Jane
October, 17 2019 at 1:53 pm

I need help, I am too judgmental and critical of my self, thus my Children and family, even colleagues.
I have lost friends, I'm impatient, I'm easily annoyed and feel frustrated.
My confidence is too low, I'm weak and feel bad about my self. I don't know what do do. I easily get irritated by myself and people arround me. Don't always feel happy except something really makes me feel so, thus excitement. i easily blame myself thus people for mistakes. I'm too emotional and I don't know how to forgive myself and let go. pls help me

October, 25 2019 at 7:41 pm

Hi there, it sounds like you're able to recognize some of the things you'd like to change in your life, which is a great place to start. Consider reaching out to your support system, or looking into finding a therapist, and continue to read the posts in Building Self-Esteem. Thanks for your comment!

Leave a reply