Criticism may be aimed at oneself, other people or things. Criticism is
useful when important changes in one’s behaviour or others are needed.
However, chronic severe criticism often leads to low self-esteem, loss
of motivation, anxiety, depression and strained relationships.
Mild self-criticism suits wearing
mismatched socks or accidentally dropping a pen.
Moderate self-criticism suits
locking your keys in your car or missing an important bill payment.
Severe self-criticism suits
speeding through a school zone or betraying your spouse.
Mild criticism of others suits
having to wait for someone prior to a time-sensitive event or being
gently bumped by a stranger in a crowd.
Moderate criticism of others
suits the person who carelessly dents your vehicle in a parking lot
or sales staff who provide poor service.
Severe criticism of others suits
people who place you or your loved ones in danger such as drunk
drivers or careless physicians.
Begins With Self Monitoring
When critical ask yourself:
Is the focus of your criticism
aimed at yourself, others or things?
What emotion(s) do you feel such
as anger, anxiety, sadness etc?
Is your criticism mild, moderate
- Is your criticism fair? Does it
match the mistake?
If your self-criticism is overly harsh, in your mind say, “Drop it, it’s
not that important.” Relax your abdomen, breathe deeply a few times, and
focus your attention on the next task you need to accomplish. Repeat
this each time you are too self-critical.
If you judge others too harshly say, “They didn’t mean to upset me
this much.” “They aren’t perfect, and neither am I.” Simply “let it
go”, breathe deeply, and focus on the next task that serves your
For example, if you become agitated while waiting in line at a
store, choose to give the cashier a break. Say to yourself, “They are doing the best they can!” “It’s a boring job.” Breathe deeply and
focus on anything else besides the cashier such as products on display,
the lighting, and how others are dressed.