Self Criticism – What Purpose Does It Serve?


Ok I want to talk about self criticism today. Everyone does it, but I woke up this morning asking why do we do this? Why is it our natural inclination to be self critical, rather than self praising? What purpose does self criticism serve? It certainly doesn’t make us feel good!

My natural response is to say that we all use self criticism as a way to keep ourselves in check, so we don’t get too big for our boots etc. It’s there to teach us to be humble, to not let our Ego’s get the better of us. But again I had to ask myself, what does that really mean? Being self critical Is our Ego getting the better of us! Any negative thoughts that we have stem from the Ego. The Ego is our self protection mechanism to ensure we don’t get hurt.  But in letting our Ego be the dominant part of us, we inhibit our true selves. Our true selves being the ones who are self appreciating, self loving.

The only answer I could come up with is that we are naturally programmed to be self critical. It gives us a benchmark or indication of where we are at in our life. It’s that little (or big) voice in our head that says ‘don’t do that’. But sometimes I think it can inhibit us, rather than protect us. It makes us fearful to take risks, or to see the good things in our lives.

It seems to be so much easier to use punishment and blame of ourselves and others when something is not working. The irony is the more that goes wrong, the more self critical we become, and the more we attract much of the same negative pattern.

So how do you turn self criticism around? How do you stop being so critical?

I think the key is to realize that when we make mistakes, or have failure in our lives, that we accept these things without judgement. It’s a time to swap from being self critical to self praising. ‘Ok wise one’ (critical!), I hear you say, but how do we do that?

It starts with recognizing when you are being self critical or self judgmental. What are the circumstances in which you are being self critical? (My example would be parenting. That one is a minefield of self criticism, self blame and guilt! As parents most of us believe we are not doing a good job.)

Then once you recognize where you are being critical,  the key is to change your mindset. The key is to start being kind to yourself! It’s about saying to yourself:

‘You know what, I don’t have all the answers to this problem I am facing, but I am not going to beat myself up because I don’t know. I am learning from this experience and that’s OK. Underneath it all I am still a good person’. (or something to that effect)

The more you begin to practice this process, the happier you will become. The more positive and happier you become, the more good you will attract into your life. (speaking from experience ;-))

So why not give it a go and see what happens. I would love to know what you think or experience. Observation and understanding of ourselves and others is the key to life!

If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with others. If you need any help with this process, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I love to help others learn how to find joy and happiness in their lives! It’s my purpose.



  • Debbie White

    Reply Reply February 13, 2014

    I love reading your posts and words of wisdom – to think about how they relate to things in my life, to give a go myself and see what happens. I agree with “praising yourself” as we are doing “the best we can”, and I plan to live by those values this year, both at work and with my family. A friend recently gave me a book to read called “Slowing Down to the Speed of Life” by Richard Carlson and Joseph Bailey. It includes things we have read about before, including the “voice in your head”, staying in the “present moment” etc. It’s an interesting read – I’m nearly half way through the book and enjoying a new perspective on “inner peace”, having faith in the “free-flowing mode” if the answers are not always clear, putting your problems on the “back burner” etc. I thought you may be interested to have a look at this book too if you have not already seen/read it. Cheers, Debbie W

    • dimitiekendall

      Reply Reply February 15, 2014

      Hi Debbie, lovely to hear from you! Thanks for your words of encouragement. I am always happy when what I write helps people in some way. That sounds like a great book! Thanks for recommending it. I will track down a copy of it to read. I hope all is well with you and your lovely family. Lots of Love to you all xx.

  • Katrina

    Reply Reply March 22, 2014

    Hi Dimitie, Your wisdom brings clarity to many people’s lives, including mine. Thank you

    • dimitiekendall

      Reply Reply March 22, 2014

      Thank you Trina I’m so happy when my words resonate with others. Much love xx

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