Self Criticism: Turning a Disaster into an Opportunity
Have you ever been consumed by thoughts like “I am useless, I am stupid, I never get things right”? I am sure you have. If we would research the prevalence of self-criticism, we would probably find that it exists in epidemic proportions. No matter how good your intentions were that motivated you to engage in a project, if it fails self-criticism of the above nature can become an uninvited guest.
Every person makes mistakes. Carl Jung is quoted to have said “(man/woman) …learns little or nothing from his successes. They mainly confirm him in his mistakes, while his failures, on the other hand, are priceless experiences in that they not only open up the way to a deeper truth, but force him to change his views and methods”. Mistakes are the pearls that pave the way to greater knowledge and wisdom.
Getting stuck in excessive self-criticism, focusing on the negative, giving yourself a hard time for not succeeding, is at its best unhelpful and at its worst destructive. Nothing good can come from telling yourself that you are useless. You don’t improve your situation and you don’t learn anything from your mistake. Instead you spiral into an existential abyss of negativity and hopelessness.
On the other hand, learning from your mistake and exploring possible actions right now that will help you to make things different in the future and will help you to move forward. What can you do from now on to avoid the mistake you made? Make a list or produce an action plan. Look at all the different ways you can advance towards your goal! And then …. JUST DO IT!