A while back I wrote about facing the critics in your life, especially as leaders. People use the phrase, “I’m my own worst critic.” and that can be pretty true at times. Speaking from experience I’m usually the one who is the hardest on myself when it comes to making mistakes and not living up to my own expectations.
Why do we feel like we have to be so hard on ourselves? Is it a mix of demanding “perfection” from ourselves and being silently self-conscious that drives us to be our biggest critics? Something that I’ve realized is that when I feel the most criticized or judged, it’s usually coming directly from me. No one else is leveraging that type of pressure on me, it’s all coming straight from me.
It can be so easy to think your mistakes are so glaring and monstrous, especially for those of us with Type-A personalities (guilty as charged) that we think others see our mistakes as largely as we do. Is it pride? Is it a lack of self-grace and self-forgiveness? It could be a whole range of things but whatever it is, it can make us turn on ourselves very quickly.
The next time you might feel under the gun or not living up to expectations, it might take a good look in the mirror to realize who’s causing the most pressure on you. You’re not perfect, you’re going to make mistakes. Give yourself some grace when you see your expectations are unrealistic. Look in the mirror and face your biggest critic.