Thread: Self-criticism

  1. #1
    I am Murloc! Tomatketchup's Avatar
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    Self-criticism

    What do I do about this?

    I am a perfectionist of sorts. I'm never really happy with myself. No matter what I do, I always gotta look on what I could've done better. I got the highest grades in several subjects in school one time - I wasn't happy about it because it didn't feel like it was enough. I interact with people and I keep telling myself what to do next time. I try next time, but then there's something else, it's like a vicious cycle. I've had some relations just... stopping since I felt like I was too obnoxious or just not good enough, so I stopped. I don't feel I can talk, or even think, about problems I have because then I feel like I'm feeling sad for myself which I hate when people does.

    I never feel my contribution to anything is good enough. If I do a test I could always do better - I passed a math test by one correct answer once, and I had a hard time accepting that I actually passed since I felt that I could've gotten a few more points. I keep comparing myself with other people and see how succesful they are, and how I haven't achieved all that much. There's always people who's both nice, popular and smarter than me, who gets better grades than me and stuff.

    Hell, even making forum threads makes me feel uncomfortable, and how I can always make my arguments better. If someone criticises me I feel like crawling back into a hole and never coming out again, it just feels horrible when someone disagrees and comes with a good reason why. I'm always afraid I post in a wrong sub-forum, or that my threads get locked. Yeah, it's pretty fucked up. The only thing I can say for sure is that I'm smart. Maybe not as smart as a lot of other people, but I feel I'm smarter than average. But I don't feel that I'm nice, nor funny, nor good-looking. Just smart.

    And yeah, I'm 17 and I'm in puberty, but I've had this issue for quite a while and I'm pretty sure my self-criticism isn't going to halt out of nowhere once my piberty is gone, so I wonder what I should do about it?

    And yes, I ask on these forums because I know a lot of you fellers are smart and can hopefully answer some way to cure this. It's kinda tearing me apart. How do I stop self-criticising myself?

  2. #2
    Herald of the Titans Simulacrum's Avatar
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    You don't, I guess? You sound like me at 17, and I'm not really any different now at 25; I've just swapped out the insecurity with a level of introspection that is no less paralyzing, and stopped myself caring so much about being perfect by becoming more of a relativist, and I'm not sure if either has been an improvement.

    But I function adequately in society, and that's all that's expected of me.

    The only piece of advice I can give that I think will be helpful is that you should talk to other people about how you feel about things, and not just repress your feelings and turn to alcoholism, or drug abuse, or worse. If you don't have anybody in your life that you feel like you can talk to - which is understandable, we all have established behaviours that we engage in around the people we know, and it's very hard to break out of those, especially if you've been doing it for years - I would suggest going to a therapist. I used to never talk about any of this to anyone, because I'm a man and I'm expected to display an outward persona of strength and power and emotional indestructability, until about my 4th hospitalization for the same thing and somebody decided to get me in touch with a therapist. I love my family and my friends, but I could never talk to them about this stuff, which I suppose is a weakness on my part.

    Maybe I'm responding too strongly here, but it's really important to talk about stuff like this with people, because there is a clear correlation between repressing one's emotions and self-destructive behaviour.

    Or... maybe I'm just projecting, and all of this is irrelevant

  3. #3
    So you constantly push yourself to your limits and look at things where you could be better and you want to know how to not do that?
    Quote Originally Posted by Cattaclysmic View Post
    The evidence for leprechauns is immense - do you know how many socks dissappear on the world scale... This means that the chance of leprechauns exists is the same as them not existing - therefore you cannot deny their existence

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Providence View Post
    So you constantly push yourself to your limits and look at things where you could be better and you want to know how to not do that?
    No, that's not what OP does, not exactly. It's one thing to look for ways to improve self. It's another to constantly think about not being able to do something better the first time in a negative way and beating yourself down because of that.

  5. #5
    Epic!
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    How can you be perfect or good at something if you're afraid to fail even once? Stop over analyzing everything that could possibly happen and becoming mentally paralyzed or frustrated as a result, and just give it a shot. If you fail, you learn from it and move on. If you don't, it's fine too. What's the point in worrying about something that you don't even have? I'll be blunt here: You will probably never stop self criticizing yourself, just like most of us won't either. The best thing you can do is question yourself as to why you're so afraid of failing, or wasting your time and effort comparing yourself to other people. Competition is fine, being obsessive about it is not. Your overly self criticizing mindset won't go away or lessen over night, just catch yourself when you're doing it and keep it down.

    You can't be perfect at everything you do because you're not a divine being. No human is.

  6. #6
    Scarab Lord Nivis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creotor View Post
    No, that's not what OP does, not exactly. It's one thing to look for ways to improve self. It's another to constantly think about not being able to do something better the first time in a negative way and beating yourself down because of that.
    Yeah.

    I have exactly the same problem.
    It doesn't matter what I do, for myself, it's NEVER good enough.
    I always start asking myself why I did not do better, which leads to even more anxiety in following similar situations because - in fact - it's completely impossible to meet ones own expectations. :/

  7. #7
    I am Murloc! Tomatketchup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Netherfall View Post
    How can you be perfect or good at something if you're afraid to fail even once? Stop over analyzing everything that could possibly happen and becoming mentally paralyzed or frustrated as a result, and just give it a shot. If you fail, you learn from it and move on. If you don't, it's fine too. What's the point in worrying about something that you don't even have? I'll be blunt here: You will probably never stop self criticizing yourself, just like most of us won't either. The best thing you can do is question yourself as to why you're so afraid of failing, or wasting your time and effort comparing yourself to other people. Competition is fine, being obsessive about it is not. Your overly self criticizing mindset won't go away or lessen over night, just catch yourself when you're doing it and keep it down.

    You can't be perfect at everything you do because you're not a divine being. No human is.
    I think it has to do with my mom hitting me the first time. I was 14 and had a hard time adjusting, and my grades were failing. Mom went nuts when she got letters about me failing classes. She slapped me across the face and screamed at me. Since then Ive been afraid of gailing. I realize that a slap across the face is nothing much, but it still seems like I got a mental scar of that. I guess because she never had hit me before and has never done so again.

  8. #8
    The Insane Cattaclysmic's Avatar
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    ... Eahm... I would have to say im a perfectionist, workaholic and... i care too much...

    What this isnt my resumé?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomatketchup View Post
    I think it has to do with my mom hitting me the first time. I was 14 and had a hard time adjusting, and my grades were failing. Mom went nuts when she got letters about me failing classes. She slapped me across the face and screamed at me. Since then Ive been afraid of failing.
    Nobody is perfect.

    Part of growing up is finding a balance you can be happy with. You're 17, so your mom still plays an important role in your life. But ultimately you have to find that balance yourself. Welcome to the world of adulthood.

    I suggest next time you're top of the class and unhappy about your grade, tell yourself to shut up and celebrate.

  10. #10
    Do not be so hard on yourself. All people make mistakes and you are not exempted. After all, we are all humans.

  11. #11
    the key for me was to channel that towards self improvement while understanding nobody can be perfect. took basically all of my teenage years. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be better, you just have to learn to get satisfaction from your progress, rather than beating yourself up due to not reaching perfection.

    I sort of want to compare it to losing weight, you focus on your personal accomplishments, rather than the fact there are still (and will always be) people skinnier than you. for some people that's a problem in itself.
    Last edited by Powerogue; 2012-01-15 at 02:04 PM.

  12. #12
    I don't see anything wrong with self criticism. If it pushes you to be a better person, keep criticizing yourself. Just try and tone it down if it gets to the point where every little increment you could do better is killing you inside.

  13. #13
    Brewmaster mittacc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creotor View Post
    No, that's not what OP does, not exactly. It's one thing to look for ways to improve self. It's another to constantly think about not being able to do something better the first time in a negative way and beating yourself down because of that.
    yeah, I've noticed I'm one of those aswell. I'm not even satisfied with a B in school even though it is the best grade I've had this year (we changed system last year). I was like ''meh'' even though my teacher implied that ''it is a very good grade''

  14. #14
    Mechagnome Liagala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomatketchup View Post
    And yes, I ask on these forums because I know a lot of you fellers are smart and can hopefully answer some way to cure this. It's kinda tearing me apart. How do I stop self-criticising myself?
    Honestly, I'm not sure you ever will. What I do think you can do though, is balance it with self-encouragement. When you get a test back with 98% on it and start beating yourself up over the one question you missed, stop for a minute. Remind yourself that 98% is damn good, probably better than everyone else in the class. You won't believe yourself, but at first that's honestly okay. Just keep the mental argument going, and refuse to let the "not good enough" voice win. Wear him down until he gives up in disgust.

    Keep doing it, every time you notice yourself thinking something you did was inadequate. If you really did fail at something then you're allowed to look for ways you could have improved, but you're plenty intelligent enough to rationally know the difference between true failure and excessive self-criticism. Every time the latter shows up, fight with it. It may take a while, but sooner or later you'll find that one day you actually believe the argument in your favor (and that will feel absolutely amazing). It will also be the only time you feel it for a while, so don't say "Hooray I won forever." Keep at it. Don't let the bad voice win, and sooner or later he'll throw in the towel.

  15. #15
    Legendary! muto's Avatar
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    Dude I'm exactly like you, I want to change and become less critical of myself and more confident, but I just can't seem too. It's like I feel as if everyone is too judgmental and that's why I have trouble making friends or hell even talking to people I don't already know. I hate eating lunch by myself in public places, and I've though about sitting next to someone who's also eating lunch by their self, but I don't want to feel as if I'm creeping them out.
    Last edited by muto; 2013-01-12 at 01:50 AM.


  16. #16
    Banned Jayburner's Avatar
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    I didn't read the thread but i'm going to say "have a couple beers". I'm sure you will be fine.

  17. #17
    Fluffy Kitten Dacien's Avatar
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    Ultra Mega necro here, unlikely that OP is around for any more input. Closed.

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