Criticism and Self-Forgiveness

I’m not so great with taking criticism when I’m learning something new. For example, I’m in the process of learning a new job, and as such I make mistakes. The person who’s training me would be doing myself and the company a disservice if they didn’t point out my mistakes so I can correct them next time. It’s not mean, it’s not because they don’t like me, it’s how we learn.

Anxiety has a fun way of dealing with criticism though, especially when paired with depression and low self-esteem. When I receive any form of criticism my anxiety spikes, I get flustered, defensive, and sometimes even apologetic. Not because I’m upset with the criticism, but because I’m mad at myself for making the mistake that led to the criticism. My flawed logic here is that I was taught how to do something, so I must be dumb if I’m making mistakes trying to do it. Just acknowledging it as flawed logic is only half of the process, there also needs to be a counter-argument to disprove the flawed logic.

Most people tend to judge ourselves more harshly than others, even those without mental illness. We can use that to our advantage, alongside positive self talk, to reframe how we think of ourselves in these situations. When you’re being too harsh on yourself try imagining that you’re another person, and ask yourself the questions “how would I judge this person?” Chances are, you’d be way more forgiving, and if you can be forgiving to others why can’t you be forgiving to yourself?

We’re all human, we all make mistakes,and we’re all continuously learning. Nobody is perfect, nobody can be perfect, and everbody deserves forgiveness for their mistakes. Even you!

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