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Top 40 Self Criticism Quotes (+FREE Worksheet)

Self Criticism Quotes

This post contains some of the best self-criticism quotes.

Self Criticism Quotes

1. “Don’t be a victim of your thoughts.” ― Darlene Lancer

2. “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” – Gautama Buddha

3. “If babies held the same tendency toward self-criticism as adults, they might never learn to walk or talk. Can you imagine infants stomping, ‘Aargh! Screwed up again!’ Fortunately, babies are free of self-criticism. They just keep practicing.” – Dan Millman

4. “If we judge ourselves only by our aspirations and everyone else only by their conduct, we shall soon reach a very false conclusion.” – Calvin Coolidge

Related: How To Be Gentle With Yourself? Top 5 Ways To Practice Self-Compassion

5. “A final word on self-criticism: Do not beat up on yourself. Even if you think you know your flaws, there is no need to advertise them. Most people won’t have noticed.” – Philip Toshio Sudo

6. “One should never criticize his own work except in a fresh and hopeful mood. The self-criticism of a tired mind is suicide.” – Charles Horton Cooley

7. “Start listening to what you say. Are your comments and ideas negative? You aren’t going to become positive if you always say negative things. Do you hear yourself say, “I could never do that,” “I never have any luck,” “I never get things right”? Wow – that’s negative self-talk! Try saying, “I am going to do that,” “I am so lucky,” “I always try to get things right.” Can you hear how much better that sounds?” – James Arthur

Related: Top 21 Healing Journal Prompts To Support Your Healing Journey

Self Criticism Quotes-min

8. “As there must be moderation in other things, so there must be moderation in self-criticism. Perpetual contemplation of our own actions produces a morbid consciousness, quite unlike that normal consciousness accompanying right actions spontaneously done, and from a state of unstable equilibrium long maintained by effort, there is apt to be a fall towards a stable equilibrium, in which the primitive nature reasserts itself. Retrogression rather than progression may hence result.” – Herbert Spencer

9. “Let ‘action’ replace your negative self-chatter and self-doubt. What is the first action step to move you forward?” – Jackie Cantoni

10. “Self-criticism, like self-administered brain surgery, is perhaps not a good idea. Can the ‘self’ see the ‘self’ with any objectivity?” – Joyce Carol Oates

11. “Our reaction to self-criticism is more important than the self-criticism itself. Paying attention to our reactions is very important because the only thing we have control over is how we react.” – Yong Kang Chan

Related: How To Stop Self-Critical Thoughts Using These Top 10 Techniques

12. “You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise Hay

13. “Ours is the one ever-present voice in our lives. Therefore, it is crucial that our self-talk instill confidence within us and is supportive, not submerging, and that our attitudes toward ourselves help keep our spirits afloat through acceptance and trust. We are our own most important and influential buoy.” – Sue Thoele

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14. “We all have the tendency to believe self-doubt and self-criticism, but listening to this voice never gets us closer to our goals. Instead, try on the point of view of a mentor or good friend who believes in you, wants the best for you, and will encourage you when you feel discouraged.” – Kelly McGonigal

15. “Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take its place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.” – Beverly Enge

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16. “People often miss out on their own human genius because they’re trying to be more perfect than the gods.” ― Curtis Tyrone Jones

17. “We are harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else.” ― Anne Burton

18. “If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…” ― Cheri Huber

19. “This negative self-talk is something you probably aren’t even aware of, but it eats away at you bit by bit and erodes that self-confidence you need to tackle your anxiety.” ― Robert Duff

20. “Unreasonable self-criticism represents a form of self-hatred and fear.” – Bryant McGill

21. “Self-stigma can be just a big a problem as the negative attitudes of others.” ― Megan A. Arroll

22. “We were free of self-judgment when we were babies, and yet at some point, we developed a sensitivity that taught us to react with self-consciousness and negative self-talk.” ― Elaina Marie

23. “The old saying goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Yet, my own negative self-talk is certain to make my words both sticks and stones.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Related: How Confident Am I Quiz (+Best 13 Practical Tools To Feel More Confident)

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24. “There are those who, by either good fortune or hard work, are not afflicted by self-doubt and don’t seem to have much of an Inner Critic at all. And then there are the rest of us: we who struggle daily to maintain a modicum of self-assurance as we go through our work and personal lives because of the barrage of self-critical inner dialogue that is our constant companion.” – Denise Jacobs

25. “Where we used to trust in the flow of inspiration and ideas from our creativity, we now begin to second-guess these messages through the filter of this new interpreter. We start to fall prey to the incessant internal critical voice that tells us that we don’t know enough, that we might look stupid and be criticized, that our ideas aren’t original, that we aren’t working hard enough – and that we have to do, be, and produce more in order to be accepted. We fall victim to our anxiety that we’ll be found out as a fraud, that our work has to be executed perfectly to be recognized and valued, that we will fail at the challenges we take on, or that we can’t keep up with the skills and technologies that we need for our work. It’s no wonder we crack under the weight of the belief that we aren’t enough.” – Denise Jacobs

Related: What Causes Cognitive Distortions? (+Top 10 Common Cognitive Distortions & How To Challenge Them)

26. “My friend, your enjoyable creative process and access to your creative power have been usurped by internal critical thoughts rooted in old fears and mistaken beliefs. May I introduce to you: the Inner Critic.” – Denise Jacobs

27. “While we are born creative, we are not born self-critical. Strong selfreflection is necessary to help a child evaluate her or his behavior in order to make good choices. However, self-judgment and selfcriticism replaces self-reflection, and it then grows unchecked during adolescence, through adulthood, and to the ends of our lives into a force that blocks us from reaching our creative potential.” – Denise Jacobs

28. “Excessive self-criticism can become the predominant influence in our lives, erecting obstructions to opportunities and holding us back from stepping into our creative greatness. What is this particular form of unchecked self-criticism? This psychological construct is known as the Inner Critic.” – Denise Jacobs

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29. “In their attempts to push us to conform to the norms of society, parents, older family members or caretakers, teachers, coaches, siblings, peers, and friends are a fount of criticism-filled messages. In our impressionable state, we internalize these criticisms. We model them, viewing ourselves from a place of criticism and judgment. We may even unconsciously emulate the negative beliefs that the people closest to us hold about themselves.” – Denise Jacobs

30. “What drives the Inner Critic? The desire to protect ourselves. Our emotional minds developed the Inner Critic as a protection strategy against situations in which we could be judged, rejected, or criticized. In its determination to keep these potential future threats at bay, the Inner Critic defends our well-being and social safety the moment we have a sense of losing either.” – Denise Jacobs

Related: Half-Smiling Technique to Reduce Emotional Distress

31. “What do our inner critical thoughts have in common at their core? One word: Fear. If you’re feeling anxious, guilty, or ashamed around your creativity, it’s likely a result of the Inner Critic’s handiwork. When we are deep in the woods of our inner critical thoughts, in essence, we are experiencing fear.” – Denise Jacobs

32. “No matter how much you try, you cannot please your Inner Critic. No matter how much you listen to it and try to change yourself in the way that it wants, it follows you and grows stronger. It is exactly like a parent who has been critical of you. Nothing that you do is okay. It is also like a dragon that keeps growing more heads as long as you do not deal with it. The harder you try to change yourself, the stronger it gets. Try to please it, and it will grow. The answer is to learn how not to play the game, and that is what this book is about—learning not to play the critic game.” – Hal Stone

33. “The Inner Critic has been with us since we were small children. It was born early in our lives in an attempt to protect us and keep us safe. What is important for us to realize here is that the Inner Critic has been broadcasting like a radio station since we were small children, announcing all the things that are wrong with us. We call this station KRAZY. Since it has been broadcasting for decades, the vast majority of us no longer hear it, for it is like background music and we no longer notice that it is playing.” – Hal Stone

Related: How To Support A Friend With OCD? 7 Practical Ways You Can Help Someone With OCD

34. “In considering where the Inner Critic came from, always keep in mind that the Inner Critic’s original function is to spare us shame and pain. This will help to keep things clear as we explore the development of the Critic and its purpose in our lives.” – Hal Stone

35. “The Inner Critic is a self (or subpersonality) that develops to protect us from being shamed or hurt. It is extremely anxious, almost desperate, for us to succeed in the world and to be accepted and liked by others. It is not the only self that lives within us.” – Hal Stone

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36. “The Inner Critic is remarkable in a number of different ways. It seems to operate with heightened awareness in all areas. It can see, hear, and feel what is wrong with us as though it had the most advanced technology at its disposal. It has the intelligence of a genius, an uncanny intuition, an ability to analyze our feelings and motivations, a sweeping gaze that notices the tiniest of details, and, in general, an unerring ability to see and to magnify all our faults and shortcomings. It seems to be a lot more intelligent and perceptive than we ordinary mortals are.” – Hal Stone

37. “The Inner Critic uses words in powerful ways. One its favorite words is mistake. It dearly loves this word. “That was a mistake. I should not have gone to lunch. I should not have sent that letter. I should not have eaten that sandwich. I should have said yes to that invitation.” Behind all these “should nots” and “shoulds” is the basic assumption that we erred, that we made a mistake. A mistake is unacceptable and we feel miserable whenever we think we have made one.” – Hal Stone

38. “The Inner Critic really wants you to be okay. It really wants you to make it in the world, to have a good job, to make enough money. It really wants you to be loved, to be successful, to be accepted, to have a family. It developed in your early years to protect your vulnerability by helping you to adapt to the world around you and to meet its requirements, whatever they might be. In order to do its job properly, it needed to curb your natural inclinations and to make you acceptable to others by criticizing and correcting your behavior before other people could criticize or reject you. In this way, it reasoned, it could earn love and protection for you as well as save you much shame and hurt. However, the Inner Critic often does not know when to stop. It does not know when enough is enough.” – Hal Stone

Related: How To Let Go Of OCD? Top 6 Powerful Strategies to Treat OCD Using CBT (+FREE OCD Resources)

39. “Allowing your Inner Critic to continue barring your access to your creativity is a grave injustice; the Inner Critic doesn’t really know what to do with your power, it just fears the potential ramifications of it. But you do know. You’re the one who knows what to do with your creative power: how to channel it, leverage it, and expand upon it. You know what you are drawn to create, what comes effortlessly to you and through you. You know that your capacity to be creative will only increase the more you use it.” – Denise Jacobs

40. “You realize that you don’t need your Inner Critic to protect your Creative Self. You can choose to learn new ways to bolster your sense of self to protect against external criticisms and judgments. It’s time to break the deal. It’s time to take back what is rightfully yours. It’s time to regain your close relationship with your Creative Self. It’s time to take back your creative power.” – Denise Jacobs

Related: Resources For OCD (Information, Podcasts, APPS, TED Talks, Books)

How To Overcome Self-Criticism?

Self-criticism can be a detrimental habit that hampers our self-esteem, well-being, and personal growth. It often manifests as harsh judgment, negative self-talk, and an excessively critical inner voice. However, it is possible to break free from the cycle of self-criticism and foster self-acceptance.

1. Cultivating Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is the practice of treating oneself with kindness, understanding, and acceptance.

It involves extending the same care and support to ourselves that we would offer to a loved one facing difficulties. To cultivate self-compassion, try the following techniques:

a. Mindfulness: Develop awareness of your self-critical thoughts and emotions without judgment. Acknowledge them and let them pass, recognizing that they do not define your worth.

b. Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. This may include engaging in hobbies, practicing relaxation techniques, exercising regularly, and maintaining healthy relationships.

Related: How To Be Gentle With Yourself? Top 5 Ways To Practice Self-Compassion

2. Challenging Unrealistic Standards

Self-criticism often arises from holding ourselves to unrealistically high standards.

Learning to set more reasonable expectations for ourselves can mitigate self-judgment and foster self-acceptance. Consider the following steps:

a. Identify Unrealistic Standards: Reflect on the standards you hold yourself to and evaluate their feasibility and origin. Examine societal influences, personal experiences, and comparisons to others that may have shaped these standards.

b. Evidence Gathering: Challenge your negative thoughts by gathering evidence that contradicts them. Look for objective, realistic, and balanced arguments that counteract your self-criticism.

c. Developing Balanced Thoughts: Replace self-critical thoughts with compassionate and balanced alternatives. Focus on your strengths, acknowledge your efforts, and remind yourself of your inherent worth.

Related: What Causes Cognitive Distortions? (+Top 10 Common Cognitive Distortions & How To Challenge Them)

3. Embracing Imperfection and Self-Acceptance

Self-criticism often stems from a fear of failure or rejection.

Embracing imperfections and nurturing self-acceptance can help counteract these fears and promote a healthier self-image. Consider these practices:

a. Embrace Mistakes as Learning Opportunities: View mistakes as a natural part of the learning process. Instead of berating yourself, analyze what you can learn from them and how you can grow.

b. Practice Gratitude: Cultivate gratitude by focusing on what you appreciate about yourself, your experiences, and the world around you. Regularly express gratitude towards yourself and others.

c. Practice Self-Appreciation: Acknowledge your achievements, strengths, and progress, regardless of how small they may seem. Celebrate your efforts and focus on self-improvement rather than perfection.

Related: Top 10 Exercises to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

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Overcoming self-criticism is a journey that requires patience, perseverance, and self-compassion.

By cultivating self-compassion, challenging unrealistic standards, embracing imperfection, and restructuring our thoughts, we can transform our relationship with ourselves.

By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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