Why am I so critical?
If you’re asking the question: why am I so critical, you’re probably fed up with being critical but convinced it’s who you are. The important thing to know about being critical is that it is a habit like any other habit. It requires hours and hours of practice to be good at being critical. Still, we have some habits we like and others we don’t. Some habits actually “have us” and it’s very hard to break free.
To answer the question: why am I so critical let’s look at your relationship with criticism as a whole. What do you believe about criticism? Is it a good or bad thing, or both? What would life be like without any criticism? Does it have a purpose?
Most people consider criticism to be 80 percent negative (Dr Google). Positive criticism that is considered positive is that which has a positive intention and is delivered in a safe environment and positive relationship in which the ratio of positives to negatives is about 90-10 percent. Negative criticism is often perceived as criticism for the sake of being critical. It can undermine the other person and damage the relationship if habitual or when not repaired.
On a more personal level, what are you like overall? What is the balance of positive to negative when you interact with other people? How do others perceive you? What is your self-talk like? Do you complain a lot or present a negative view of situations that others don’t have an issue with? Over-reactiveness is common when you have a habit of being critical.
How did you learn to be critical?
Who did you first learnt it from? Think back to when you first had the experience of being criticised yourself. How did it feel and what were your reactions? You may have turned the criticism in on yourself and developed a habit of negative self-talk.Often by late adolescence, self-criticism can turn outwards to criticism of others. As an adult it can be very hard and isolating to continue being critical. Friends may not want to be around you and you may not like yourself at times. It can be exhausting to always be negative!
Being too critical can often be the result of having unrealistic standards or expectations. You and other people may find it hard to meet these. If you have perfectionist tendencies, nothing may be good enough, even if it exceeds most people’s expectations. Having these tendencies can make you ultra critical of other people’s efforts, leaving you feeling angry and frustrated, and the other person hurt and unappreciated.
Why is it important to not be so critical?
Being critical is a habit of thinking and acting that reflects how you may see the world, other people, and yourself. It is a negative lense through which you may filter all experiences, spoiling your enjoyment of life and or being with other people.
It is hard to constantly be your own critic. Your inner critic may be working overtime with self-judgement. From this perspective it becomes easy to see the negatives all around you. You can get caught in negative thinking loops and negative interactions with other people. Being critical ultimately gets in the way of your own happiness and that of others. Critical people may come across as being rude or judgemental, arrogant or negative.
How do I stop being so critical?
1. Replace criticism with kindness to yourself and others.
2. Catch the negative thinking loop on the first criticism of yourself or others. Repair. (“I’m sorry, let me say that in another way.”)
3. Be aware that there is not only one-way of doing things. Be curious rather than judgemental about other people’s way of doing things.
4. Take it slow as you go about your daily activities. Leave more time to arrive.
5. Enjoy nature and beauty around you at brief opportunities throughout the day.
6. Be more in your body than in your head.