OPINION

Mental Health | The difference between self-assessment and self-criticism

Self-assessment and self-criticism, one leads to growth the other to depression. Picture: Shutterstock.
Self-assessment and self-criticism, one leads to growth the other to depression. Picture: Shutterstock.

There's a vast difference between self-assessment and self-criticism. The former can lead to change and growth; the latter to depression and defeat.

It's important that we take the time to have a good, long look at our current situation and then measure it against where we have come from and where we want to be.

The alternative is to drift aimlessly through life, losing perspective and wasting our promise and potential.

Honest self-assessment affords us the opportunity to appreciate our situation, make necessary adjustments in the way we are thinking and acting and plan how we move forward.

Expectations, though, must always be realistic. Progression is rarely about leaps towards a desired target. More often than not it's little more than placing one foot in front of the other.

It's in knowing ourselves - our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes - that we become better equipped to know others. And that's important because we all need connection and relationships.

We should guard against blurring the lines that separate self-assessment from self-criticism.

Over-emphasis of real and imagined fault or weakness becomes self-defeating. Accentuating the negative can trigger a downward spiral, damaging our spirit and blinding us to positive possibilities.

It's true that what we think of ourselves is what we will be. Self-assess but avoid the tendency to self-obsess. That's a distraction no-one needs.

  • Gary Bentley is a Rural Aid counsellor.