Being able to acknowledge your faults is a useful skill. Being critical of yourself to the point of crippling your motivation isn’t. The next time you’re feeling down on yourself, imagine how your criticisms would sound coming from a loved one.
Chances are, you have at least one person in your life who has tried to be encouraging. Whether it’s a parent, teacher, coworker, or significant other, someone is probably willing to understand your limitations or failures and still see your positive sides. They’re the ones least likely to throw you under the bus the first time you screw up. Imagining how they would respond may help you see that you don’t need to be so hard on yourself:
Talking to yourself out loud can make you smarter, improve your memory, help you focus and even increase athletic performance. Maybe you’re not buying it. Talking to yourself not doing it for you? Imagine someone who loves you saying the kind words instead.
Your self-perception can affect your actual performance in ways you don’t expect. If you don’t think you can do something, you’re less likely to challenge yourself. However, allowing yourself to filter some of your harshest criticisms through the lens of someone who has a vested interest in seeing your positive side can help you avoid the self-defeating trap.
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Photo by Ted Eytan.