Have you ever been told that you’re too hard on yourself? What about toward others? No one appreciates negative criticism, even if you believe you’re being helpful. Believe it or not, your inner self doesn’t appreciate it when you criticize yourself, either.
Luckily, you can learn to have a more positive attitude toward yourself and others, and it isn’t as hard as you might think. With a simple action here and altering a habit there, you’ll soon find your outlook changing.
Try these strategies:
Give compliments. When you feel compelled to criticize or judge someone, use your willpower to say something nice instead.
○ You could even keep your compliment to yourself and simply think it. However, you’ll be surprised how much your relationships improve if you’re willing to speak your kindness aloud.
○ Think about your positive attributes for a few minutes each day. Catch yourself when you start to speak negatively to yourself. Say something positive instead.
2. Consider the difference between giving advice and being critical. Advice is helpful and has a positive intention. Criticism has a negative intent and isn’t helpful.
○ Think carefully - what are your true intentions? What are you honestly trying to accomplish?
○ Do you criticize yourself? Why? Imagine someone you cared about was in the same situation. What advice would you give them?
3. Start your day with a positive attitude. By getting your day off to a positive start, you’ll be less likely to be critical of yourself or others.
○ Consider what makes you feel good. Is it music? Reading inspirational quotes? Remembering your favorite vacation? Making a list of things that fill you with gratitude?
○ Start your day with positive thoughts and energy. Carry that feeling for as long as you can each day.
4. Spend more time thinking about what you want, rather than what you don’t want. Thinking about what you don’t want is addressing life from a negative perspective. Keep your thoughts focused on what you do want. Your mood will be lighter and you’ll treat yourself and others more kindly too.
5. Allow situations and people to be as they are. One of the easiest ways to make yourself unhappy is to believe that everything is supposed to be a certain way. You might believe that others should thank you for a compliment or offer you their seat on the bus, but they might not feel that way.
○ In reality, everyone views the world differently, and your views aren’t any more correct than anyone else’s. If you think that everyone else should automatically see things through your perspective, you’re likely to be critical and miserable.
6. Understand the situation. Ensure that you have a complete and accurate understanding before jumping to conclusions. The most critical people in the world are often operating with insufficient information. Before you say something negative, make an effort to get the whole story. Perhaps the most important issue is self-esteem.
Those that are critical of others often do so to make themselves feel more important, superior, or dominant.
It’s also possible you’re using criticism as a way of preventing others from getting too close to you.
7. Consider why you’re critical of others and yourself. The solution becomes more apparent if you correctly identify the cause.
If you have a tendency to be critical, you can enjoy your life more by making a positive change. Learn to be kind and patient. It just takes practice. Be kind to everyone you meet. Be kind and patient with yourself, too.
Before you know it, this behavior will become a habit and you’ll discover that you’ve acquired a new, positive outlook regarding yourself, others, and life itself.