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Self-Criticism or Self-Compassion – Which is Better for Achieving Goals?
What kind of mood will the following words leave you with: “You are lazy; you are not good for anything”? Do you feel a surge of strength, inspiration, or are you ready to conquer the world after that? That is very unlikely.
In most life situations, we need to be calm and feel confident in order to show what we are truly capable of.
This is how we most often motivate children: we say that we believe in them, that we are always ready to support them; we praise their successes and try not to notice failures. But concerning ourselves, we act in exactly the opposite way.
Motivation researchers emphasize that self-confidence is critical to achieving goals.
This is confirmed by the following experiment: researchers observed two hundred schoolchildren involved in wrestling. It turned out that those of them who were confident won more fights than doubters.
Why do we criticize ourselves?
And yet, to a certain extent, self-criticism is effective – otherwise, why do people use it for centuries in relation to themselves? The answer is fear.
Not wanting to listen to the reproaches of conscience and expecting the worst punishment, we are ready to do everything to avoid this. But this approach has significant drawbacks:
1. Anxiety kills performance
Fear of public speaking, fear of the next test or check-point, fear of doing something wrong – all this forces us to concentrate on the feeling of anxiety, and not on the process itself. As a result, we cannot show everything that we are capable of.
2. Fear makes you resort to psychological tricks
One of the most popular techniques is self-obstruction – when we deliberately interfere with ourselves so that luck becomes less likely. For example, we postpone training until later in order to explain our loss by the lack of preparation.
People, who often criticize themselves, are less likely to achieve goals due to self-obstruction.
Another trick in this series is procrastination. If I don’t complete a job assignment, which I only started doing at the last minute, I’ll be able to associate my failure with a lack of time, and not with my own incompetence.