Self-Regard: Do Not be Your Own Worst Critic


Understanding Self-Regard

Healthy self-regard is directly related to success. However, we are often our own worst critics. Appropriate critique of ourselves can be helpful in developing capability and character. However, excessive self-criticism focuses too much on negativity and actually cripples progress. Developing a healthy self-regard helps us maintain an effective balance. Keep in mind there is a significant difference between pride and self-regard. Pride comes from a place of insecurity. Self-regard originates from confidence, competence, and value for self as well as others.

Psychologically safe environments – spaces in which people feel comfortable sharing their opinions without fear of arbitrary criticism or judgement – cannot develop among individuals working from positions of low self-regard. The following tips address ways to support psychological safety through strengthening emotional intelligence.

Three Ways to Build Self-Regard:

  1. Commit to a few, specific goals.

Set goals and determine to make them happen. We all love the feeling of checking items off a to-do list. Knowing we have successfully achieved what we set out to accomplish is highly satisfying. To begin, create a list that inspires you but also allows for realistic flexibility. Identify specific personal or professional changes you would like to make. Next, set reasonable benchmarks to keep yourself accountable to achieving the goals. Finally, if you fall behind, do not quit. Instead, simply pick up where you became side-tracked and press on to your targeted end. Never underestimate the power of direction. Movement towards your goal, however fast or slow, is still momentum in the right direction. Proving you can make the progress you envision builds gratifying self-regard.

  1. Find humor in personal imperfections.

Everyone is imperfect; we are human. It is self-defeating to act as if we are not. Furthermore, no one wants to be around people who take themselves too seriously, judge themselves too harshly, and mandate those around them meet unrealistic expectations as well. Without ever excusing objectionable behavior, find good-natured humor in your personal imperfections. Confident sincerity, in light of your flaws, invites camaraderie and collaboration from others as well.

  1. Show respect to others.

Even though you may be able to find humor in your own imperfections, you should never overplay the flaws of others. A confident individual maintains respect for others. Regard for the dignity of others in the way you extend yourself communicates inherent value – for yourself as well as others with whom you interact.

Action Item:

Considering these three important tips for developing self-regard, what practical action items will you immediately apply?e.

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