Too self-critical? Striking a balance isn’t that difficult

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 04, 2016 21:26 IST
Self-criticism can be both mentally and physically harmful, say psychotherapists.

While being slightly self-critical might be harmless, excessive amounts of self-criticism can be “both mentally and physically harmful, leading to mental disorders, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and even suicide,” reveals a new study. It has been conducted by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and Yale University, USA.

In a bid to better understand the repercussions of being too overly self-critical, we got on board city-based psychotherapist and life coach Neeta V Shetty to help us create a quiz. The results of this questionnaire will throw light on how self-critical a person is. Once you have attempted the quiz, tally your results with the psychotherapist’s feedback to understand where you stand.

The quiz

When someone criticises you

a) You pay no heed as you consider the person criticising you cynical

b) You feel uncomfortable

initially, but you take the criticism into consideration, depending on who the critic is

c) You wonder repeatedly how you let myself slip so badly that someone had to actually point it out

Regarding your professional life

a) You are very happy with the work culture

b) You are not unhappy, until payday, which is when you feel you deserve more

c) You are constantly on the lookout for a new job as you feel you are underpaid

On a night out

a) You wear whatever you see first and step out

b) You plan what to wear in advance, and opt for something you feel comfortable in

c) You plan your clothes days in advance and go out of your way to look good

Read: Being social: When was the last time you went out and had fun?

Relationship-wise, you

a) See all of your partner’s flaws and give him regular feedback, as you want to support him in achieving his full potential

b) Are happy. When things seem to get dull, you don’t hesitate to plan holidays, sign up for joint activities or go on date nights

c) Don’t remember the last time you got bored or excited, by your partner

When you make a mistake

a) You get momentarily worried, and try not to goof up again

b) You try and rectify the situation, but you do not dwell on the mistake as it was unintentional

c) You feel upset and take a few days to get over it; you constantly worry about not making the same mistake again

Regarding setting goals

a) You set clear goals for everything, as that gives you clearer focus and direction in life

b) You set goals when needed, and give them your best shot, but also prepare for the worst

c) It is hard to say which goals can be achieved and which can’t, so you don’t set them. You take each day as it comes

When you are assigned any project

a) You go through it again and then again to be doubly sure, and make sure the project is thoroughly refined

b) You wait for feedback, and then tweak the draft accordingly

c) You make sure you include as many people’s suggestions as possible

Practicing self-love and care, doing activities that make you happy can take care of your highly self-condemning behaviour. You can also practice mindfulness. (Shutterstock)

What the quiz tells about you

If you got more As: You are not self-critical

Your optimistic approach towards life makes you happier than most, as you are in love with yourself. But you are so high on self-esteem and self-confidence that you have the illusion of being perfect. This makes you reckless, a high-risk taker and prone to taking bad decisions. As you tend to perceive yourself as perfect, you are highly judgmental and critical about other people. But, you cannot take criticism or advice from others, which makes you egoistic and stubborn. This, in turn, makes you an unhealthy partner and co-worker. You tend to be highly optimistic, and have very high expectations. This may lead to depression if and when your illusion is broken. You are also very rigid in your thoughts and beliefs. You need to realistically understand your strengths and weaknesses to modify your reckless behaviour. You should work on your habit of criticising others to foster better relationships.

If you got more Bs: You are moderately self-critical

Being moderately critical is healthier. You have a happy perspective towards your life and yourself. You also tend to be psychologically stronger. You are less judgmental about yourself, and are more grounded. You are more open to other people’s criticism and opinions, but you are not completely dependent on them. You have good leadership qualities, and you maintain healthy relationships with people. You have better decision-making skills, and are aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You are also adaptive to change, and are flexible in your thoughts and attitudes.

Read: Creative bliss: 8 steps for a healthier, happier life

If you got more Cs: You are too self-critical

Your over cautiousness rarely makes you reckless. You are more open to advice and criticism, which makes you a better co-worker. You are wonderful as a friend. Your low self-confidence and self-esteem stems from your childhood. This occurs in children of highly-critical or over-achieving parents; the kids, in such cases, turn into underachievers as they tend to perceive themselves as non-achievers. You are pessimistic, you lack healthy decision-making skills, and are always dependent on others for their opinions. You have a poor self-image, and are extremely insecure in relationships, making you an unhealthy partner. You are a people pleaser; you may go to the extent of making yourself unhappy in the process. You constantly worry about things and overanalyse your life. Journaling your self-talk and turning the negative thoughts into positive ones will help you improve your self-image and self-esteem. Practicing self-love and care, doing activities that make you happy can take care of your highly self-condemning behaviour. You can also practice mindfulness.

Follow @htlifeandstyle for more.

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