How to do self-criticism: 8 practical tips

How to do self-criticism: 8 practical tips
  • Self-criticism is a capacity that allows us to be aware of and assess our behavior in order to make changes to improve it.
  • To ensure that criticism benefits us, we must ensure that it is positive and constructive.
  • Self-criticism can be understood as a positive skill, since if we do it correctly it can be useful to modify our way of acting and thus improve.


The self-criticism it is a capacity that allows us to be aware of and assess our behavior in order to make changes to improve it.

To make the criticism benefits us we must ensure that it is positive and constructive, that is, to focus on describing the situation and assessing what possible solutions there are. The purpose of self-criticism is to improve, not to blame and punish ourselves for what happened.

What do we mean by self-criticism?

self-criticism is the ability to analyze and assess our behaviors, both behaviors, cognitions and emotions, proposing improvements. Self-criticism can be understood as a positive skill, since if we do it correctly it can be useful to modify our way of acting and thus improve. In this way, it is necessary that in the same way that we must try to make constructive criticism of the subjects around us, we also make this type of criticism of ourselves.

How to do self-criticism

1. Be clear that the purpose is to improve, not to blame ourselves

The purpose of self-criticism should be to find out what we did wrong and try to assess how we can change our actions so as not to make the same mistake. Constantly blaming ourselves for what we did without trying to solve the problem does not help us; on the contrary, it affects us and can affect our mental state.

2. Focus on specific behaviors that you can modify

We make self-criticisms with the intention of improving, if the criticized fact, capacity, trait cannot be modified, criticizing it will not be functional or useful since we will only make ourselves feel worse, harm ourselves by highlighting something that we cannot change. So that, we will focus on valuing and trying to modify behaviors, rather than unmodifiable traits and that these conducts be as specific as possible to seek the most appropriate solution.

3. Set realistic goals

As we have already seen, the purpose of self-criticism is to be able to identify and assess what we must change and work to achieve an improvement. For this reason, it is necessary that the objectives or goals that we set for ourselves, those that we use to assess our state and if we have achieved what we wanted, be realistic. Namely, we have to be able to achieve them, because if not, we will only sink and self-criticism will cease to be functional.

It is better to set ourselves close objectives, that we can easily achieve in order to gradually progress and set ourselves more complex long-term goals, but always with the possibility of achieving them if we make an effort.

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4. Choose a suitable moment to do self-criticism

It is common, due to the lifestyle we currently lead, that we cannot stop to reflect during the day. For this reason, it may be favorable to choose the moment to carry out a self-assessment well, dedicating a moment to ourselves to reflect on our state, consider possible objectives, aspects that we want to change and how to make the improvement. It is important that the moment we choose we can be relaxed as much as possible so that our thoughts are positive and we show a good attitude towards the possible factors to modify, thus avoiding self-destruction.

5. Be aware of self-criticism

To make the self-criticism is done properly we must be aware of when it is taking place in order to control it and ensure that it is positive and constructive and its intentions are not diverted. One way to control self-criticism is to try to do it frequently. and intentionally being aware of it, because that is how we manage to exercise this ability, first by training consciously and with greater effort so that we finally manage to do it without difficulty and in an adequate way.

6. Use the description of behaviors

The correct way to do constructive self-criticism is to accurately describe a specific behavior or pattern of habitual behavior in us, thus avoiding focusing on personality traits or appealing to our supposed essence. As we have already said, we will try to make the behavior to change as concrete as possible. If we specifically describe the bug, it is easier to identify in this description how to fix it and obtain improvements.

7. Generate possible solutions

The technique that is used from the field of Psychology to try to solve the first problems, presents as one of the phases of action generate all possible alternatives to try to find the most suitable solution. Once all the alternatives have been proposed, we must assess the possible consequences that each one may entail in order to discard and finally stay with the one that is most appropriate. Likewise, if we see that the chosen option does not obtain good results, we can change and try another.

8. Assume the responsibility that corresponds to you

Linked to self-blame, it is also essential that we take responsibility for the events that happen to us, but distinguishing between: events whose results depend on us, of which we could not do anything to modify them.

There are events for which we are responsible, but it was not really within our power to do anything to prevent them from happening. Thus, it is important to know when the locus of control is internal and we can place the responsibility on ourselves and when, on the contrary, the locus of control is external and what happened is not our responsibility.

We must really take responsibility for the facts that belong to us and that it is within our power to change.

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