Conquer your inner-critic

Self-criticism can be a constructive tool once you learn the art of compassion and love towards yourself, suggest life coaches.

Arnold Schwarzenegger recently admitted in an interview that he has always been critical of himself. Despite winning the Mr Olympia title, professional men’s bodybuilding contest, for seven consecutive years, the Terminator star always felt like he was ‘lacking’ something.

The 69-year-old actor and former bodybuilding champion admitted that he used to criticise himself even when he was in his best shape. While constructive criticism can be healthy, and helpful at times; being overly critical is not, suggest life coaches. “Self-criticism often helps the mind to push and improve oneself. But it is a cause of worry if people restrict themselves to a tunnel vision of criticism and lose focus on the other important aspects of life,” observes life coach Khyati Birla.

Psychologist Dr Kashissh A. Chhabriaa explains that this “inner self-critic” often becomes active in childhood. “It all boils down to an incredibly low self-esteem. Children often resonate with thoughts that are projected on them and it eventually starts becoming their internal reality. If someone has ridiculed them in childhood, it leaves a lasting impression till the point where the person starts believing that this is their truth. As they are in a ‘sponge’ state of mind they will absorb everything that’s told to them at an impressionable age,” she asserts.

When you’re overly critical, you might have unrealistic expectations, exaggerate the negatives and become extremely judgmental of yourself. Khyati adds that it is during times like these that one needs to seek intervention. “A harsh inner critic is a sign of low self-worth. Channelise your inner self-critic to become your inner guide. Focus on the happiness instead of concentrating on the negative. Ask yourself what you need, because often you don’t know what it is you really want in life,” suggests Khyati.

Kashissh says that accepting oneself — irrespective of weaknesses — is key in this case. She explains, “Someone’s perception towards you should not be your truth. It’s very common for unhappy people to give out unhappy thoughts because they are not happy with themselves. One must accept the weaknesses and be grateful for one’s strengths. Work towards building your strength so much that the weakness does not find any time to creep in.”

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