Forming Customised Criticism…for Yourself


I actually started this post over a year ago. And when I mean started, I mean I wrote the title and then saved it as a draft and left it for dead literally. But due to the course of yesterday’s events, I thought it was time for a revival.

So, this is how it went. I called my mum up and I was like these are the ideas that I have and this is what I want to do, so…how can I go about doing it? I had already mentioned cutting down on my sleep and we continued to talk about other things: improvements I need to make regarding myself, my work ethic etc. I made criticisms about myself, they came out of my own mouth and my mother agreed with all of them and she also made criticisms which I, wholeheartedly, agreed with and I was aware of prior to the conversation.

And then I did some reflection. I thought about knowing yourself. You can only criticise what you know and if you don’t know yourself (which sounds funny because it may seem difficult to not know yourself but it is doable) then you can’t criticise yourself. It’s that simple.

Problem solving involves a very vital step and that is identifying the problem. If you do not identify the problem there is nothing to solve. You don’t wipe a spill that doesn’t exist. And I say this because being able to identify one’s own flaws and being able to self-evaluate is such a vital and important skill and is linked heavily to knowing oneself. I believe in not having to wait or have to seek another person in order to find my faults. This means I don’t have to wait for the criticism to come from an outside source because let’s face it a lot of people cannot tell each other the truth for fear of the unknown or anything synonymous to that. Some people don’t even have their own family to tell them the truth. So, being able to do it yourself cuts out the middle man and makes you more independent in whatever it is that you’re ploughing through.

I can tell you that one of my faults is I can identify an issue with myself and then I get lazy when it comes to providing the solution to the problem. I know that that in itself is a problem so it’s about jumpstarting myself in order to do whatever however but see I just get to this point where I’m waiting around, just chilling, and looking and every so often I get to a stage when I’m like “hold on, why’s nothing happening?” And fortunately, I have my family to keep me in check, so usually when I do have those moments of chilling and being lazy and I know I’m taking the easy route out (and they’re quite frequent) that’s when God sends my parents my way. And like I said, I am fortunate to have that but some people don’t. Hence, if you acquire the skill of being able to question and evaluate oneself and go through with it in terms of forming a solution and doing it then it doesn’t really matter, you don’t need that check-and-balance stage like I do and you’ve become your own problem solver.

At the same time, it is good to rub minds with others and if you find legit people that can offer you good advice and constructive criticism keep them close as they are so few and far in between. They say two heads are better than one and the Bible says a three fold cord is not quickly broken. Having other people’s opinions and thoughts are good because things you didn’t think of tend to come up. Plus, it is really nice to have a supportive network. So by all means go forth but don’t forget that there’s a lot of people out there that did things by themselves. Self-efficacy never did anyone any harm.

In addition to all of this, having such a skill set allows you to handle constructive criticism well from other people because you’re used to doing it for yourself. It also allows you to decipher what is good and what is bad and what is true and what is false because sometimes you still find yourself in situations when unwarranted advice/criticism is being given and in those times that’s when you can sharpen your knives and cut out what isn’t needed because you. know. your. self.

Sometimes, however, I can be my own worst critic and the perfectionist in me just makes the whole thing a hot mess. That’s when I have to remind myself that Rome was not built in a day and baby steps are so vital and as long as you are moving that is all that counts as Confucius said “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

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