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The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Critical (And How to Strike a Balance)

Self-Criticism vs Self-Deprecation

In exploring the idea of self-criticism, one has to first consider what it means for the individual. It’s important to remember that there is a significant difference between being self-critical as compared with self-deprecating behavior.

Self-deprecation is the act of putting oneself down, sometimes in an attempt to be humorous, but oftentimes out of a place of doubt and insecurity.

Self-deprecation erodes one’s confidence. It isn’t something to use lightly, as your own self-talk will play a part in defining your existence and how you are perceived – but more importantly, in how you perceive yourself.

At the same time, you can’t take yourself so seriously that you are unable to make light of your mistakes as you pursue becoming a better version of you. There is of course, as in all areas of life, a balance to be struck, and both self-criticism and self-deprecation can be utilized in moderation.

Learning the difference between the two is the key to pursuing a productive life that will allow your successes to compound and your failures to be reduced. While self-deprecation can highlight flaws in your approach to life, self-criticism is more concerned with addressing those flaws and then acting to correct them.

The Audit Example

I’ll give an example from one of Rachel Hollis’s recent podcasts:

She discussed the idea of a yearly calendar audit in which she looks at all of her appointments from the past year and tries to identify which meetings led to great business success and which ones were essentially wastes of time.

She tried to recognize patterns in the winners versus the losers so that she could hopefully cut out more of the dead-end appointments in order to create room for more successful meetings that were fruitful to her long term goals. [1]

If we could all use this method, taking the time to reduce inefficiencies in our own behavior and increase productive usage of time, then, of course, we would see better results in time that allow for future success!

How can you analyze your own yearly ventures from 2019 in order to help create a better path to success in 2020?

I’d argue that the first step is to analyze the process of self-criticism in order to better understand the pros and cons behind such a strategy and in order to increase your potential for future success in your pursuits.

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