The Biggest Critic


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Demetria Slyt, Opinion Writer

For a lot of people, the word “critique” can cause them a great deal of anxiety. However, for some, it is an opportunity to learn and grow. Who is our biggest critic in life? Ourselves. No matter the profession or hobby or sport it seems as if we cast judgment on ourselves quicker than others can get a chance to. There are so many ways we judge ourselves. We find ourselves thinking: I am not smart enough, I am not strong enough, I am not confident enough, or even I am not good enough. At times we recognize what we can do better, but sometimes we let that knowledge consume us. By that I mean it isn’t uncommon for someone to quit something because they believe they aren’t good enough and in their eyes most likely never will be. It can be really disheartening to feel that way, I know many people including myself have been there. These critiques we make of ourselves, be they right or wrong, can either motivate us to be better or as I mentioned discourage us from even trying again.  

As I mentioned before, sometimes our inner critic can be too severe or relentless. It can begin picking away at your most minor flaws or flops that aren’t even in your control until there isn’t anything left and for no reason at that! More often than not the things our inner critic lashes out at us about may not even be something another person would point out or critique to such a harsh extent. Some psychologists might say we do this because we don’t want to hear criticism or rejection from others, so in a sense, this is keeping us safe. Other times this criticism might be due to emotional trauma or other past experiences. How do we stop tearing ourselves down? 

How can we stop this ruthless judgment of ourselves? One way could be to ask yourself questions, but from another viewpoint as if you are another person. This method is called self-distancing, taking a step back and looking at it from a different standpoint. “Why do I feel this way?” questions like this can help us elaborate on our feelings and rationalize the irrational. Even questions like, “ Why don’t you think you’re good enough?” can help us recognize when we’re being overly critical and why. I found a video about this and it even provides a few other coping strategies, If you’d like to check it out, here is the link: 

 A big part of thinking we aren’t good enough can simply come from comparing yourself to others. Not to say that it’s those individuals’ fault for making you feel that way, because only you are in charge of how you think and feel. You may think things like,”that person is really naturally talented! Why can’t I be as good as them?” First of all, no one is naturally talented, and to say that means all of their hard work and practice to be good at something was for nothing. Second, you should never under any circumstances compare yourself to others anyway. In an artistic sense or otherwise, because everyone is at a different skill level and you cannot judge yourself based on that. Afterall, practice makes perfect and you are going to have hiccups along the way but you can always overcome them or learn a way to get around them. Do you think Michelangelo could paint as he did without ever having picked up a brush before? No, obviously not and to believe something like that is absolute nonsense.  

Have you ever struggled with these overwhelming feelings before? Do you think that you are too harsh on yourself? What do you do to try to build yourself up or keep yourself motivated to be better? As always, feel free to reach out via email with any comments you may have pertaining to today’s article or even just feedback about what I could have covered better. I enjoy hearing back from readers with their own opinions or personal thoughts. Stay tuned for new articles every Monday and Friday, and stay safe out there! 

Demetria Slyt is a Dakota Student Opinion Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]