Teen Corner: Your worst critic is often the person in the mirror

Published 1:42 pm Friday, September 29, 2023

By Chloe McCreary

Guest Columnist

Human beings are filled with flaws. As you go through life, there will probably be certain qualities you notice about yourself you wish you could change. Maybe you bite your nails when you get nervous. You may tend to be too blunt when you are speaking to others. Flaws are just something that everyone is created with, and we can’t escape. A flaw of my own that I’ve noticed is that I tend to criticize myself too harshly.

When I speak with others, I tend to forgive them easily. Whenever they mess up or fail to do something they promised, I tell them that it’s OK and that they could do whatever it was some other time. When they fail at something, I reassure them that they are alright and they can give it another try tomorrow. This, however, is not the case with me. Whenever I mess up or fail, I don’t tell myself it’s OK. I don’t reassure myself that it’ll be all right, and I can just try again tomorrow. I tell myself that I failed because I wasn’t good enough. I tell myself that I’m inadequate.

Even though I can forgive others easily, I can never find the strength to forgive myself. Isn’t that what forgiveness is? Isn’t forgiveness having the strength to see past your and others’ mistakes and start anew?

I’ve often found that this is the case with most people. When someone messes up, they tell them that it’s no big deal. If they mess up, however, it’s suddenly the end of the world. This often happens because we have high expectations for ourselves and become devastated if those expectations aren’t met. We weigh ourselves down with the “I should have done this” and the “I shouldn’t have done that,” In reality, there was no way to tell what you should have done at the time. We waste so much of our time and energy telling ourselves that we aren’t sufficient, we aren’t acceptable, and that we never will be. This often leads to people giving up on certain things they enjoy.

Another reason people are often too hard on themselves is that they feel everyone around them is criticizing what they do. They worry about people judging them for messing up, so they are overly critical of themselves. When you pay attention, you notice that everyone is just as worried about messing up as you are.

In the end, your own worst critic is you.