One of the most harmful myths that many of us buy into is that criticism is an effective form of motivation for change. All too often, bosses, supervisors, teachers, or parents will point out what their employees, students, or children are doing wrong in the hopes to correct their behavior. It is fair to assume that in the best of cases, these folks mean well - we want those we are teaching and overseeing to grow, and it is painful to watch them engage in behaviors that get in the way of that growth, or make mistakes that can easily be rectified. Similarly, we can fall into this trap as our own worst critics of ourselves. We call ourselves stupid (or worse) and ruminate about what we should have done differently or better. We may think that by being hard on ourselves, we have a better chance of changing or fixing our ineffective ways of functioning, but in reality, self-criticism is often much more paralyzing than it is activating, and can be markedly harmful, rather than helpful.
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