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Are you your own worst critic?

Updated: Jun 24, 2021

We grew up believing self-praise is no praise. As we believed it, if we did take a compliment, acknowledge our success and credit ourselves, there were judging eyes and thoughts around, thinking "arrogant", "full of it" ,"boaster" and "cocky". Then we internalised that as criticise yourself to fit in, water yourself down and play it down. The truth is you can be humble and confident. It is really true self-talk needs to be healthy and positive for you to grow and succeed.

I have been inspired today by an Irish footballer who mentioned that when she had made the senior football team, everyone congratulated her and all she said was "I only played for 5 minutes". She later reflected and thought "why did I just water down my achievements? " and she stated it was from being brought up in Irish society where we were taught "Self-praise is no praise".

I could 100% relate as I also grew up in Irish society. We were taught self-praise is no praise. You water down your achievements or you don't even acknowledge them. There is definitely a generational and cultural seed that started the obstructive pattern of "Self-praise is no praise". If you believe this phrase or something similar, let me ask you something, "How is it serving you?". Probably, you are consumed in the opposite and are very self-critical or mute. I do agree in staying focused and letting your success speak for itself but I also believe we have to be mindful of our inner dialogue and how we talk to ourselves.

Where did you start believing "Self-praise is no praise"?

I also grew up in Irish society. It is probably similar in other societies and it is very true that we have overheard this phrase. It is believing it, and taking it on as our truth that does the damage. Limiting beliefs that were handed down in the family and in the culture you grew up are the most difficult to spot as they are so imprinted in our thinking. There is a coaching technique to inquire into these beliefs and decide now whether they serve you or not and to choose to let go or keep them. Innocently as a child, I shared with my close people what I can do, what my strengths are, and then I stopped as someone rolled her eyes and said "Carmel and her many talents". I internalised the reaction as negative mockery, although she misunderstood me, I muted myself for fear of not being liked and tried to conform. It is what we do to survive in our environment, our brains natural instinct is to adapt or you'll suffer. I see people holding back, hiding and playing it down all the time. It is very important to be able to voice your successes at certain times as life is an ongoing interview. Actually, I have met people that can't even take one compliment. It was later on in life when I got international exposure and spread my wings at work and life, I discovered that this belief "Self-praise is no praise" is a LIE we were told so we would possibly FAIL or stay limited. Our beliefs block us. It's an ancient lie. It didn't serve me to conform and play small as it put my goals on pause and made my possibilities narrow back then.

So we go around bragging now?

No, I am not talking about boasting here. I mean just being able to acknowledge your achievements, to learn to take a compliment, to understand your strengths and where you can help. Our brains are designed to automatically go for the negative chatter. This was for the cave men times when it was needed to survive threats that were a real danger. Now we react the same and why we must make a conscious effort to deliberately think more positive, give ourselves some compassion and credit.

Why do we need self-praise?

You see we need self-praise as it is actually the key ingredient to taking action on our goals. When we criticise ourselves, we avoid moving forward, we hide, we stay stuck, we are overwhelmed by our thinking, we look and sound awful. We need to be our biggest cheerleader, that's how we progress, take on challenges and new opportunities. You are not going overcome your obstacles and challenges being hard on yourself. As adults we need it more as we don't have parents, and teachers giving us a pat on the back, we must be our own parent, sometimes the parent we never had as most of our parents were criticised too. As I said it is generational and we are at a time. where we are waking up to the lies. Our self-talk is very important part to our progress. It is not selfish either, when someone becomes more confident and makes deliberate positive changes to habits and behaviours, they share it. They bring light. They motivate and encourage others.

But praising myself is a lie?

It will feel like that at first if you are used to the reverse. You won't feel comfortable as maybe you are used to negative thinkers and being criticised. I was once stuck in all that too and internalising what others said or believed. We do this especially as children, we are sponges and we take it all on until we are programmed to think the same way. I believed what others told me who I am, rather than who I thought I was. Now through inquiry, deliberate thinking, personal development and coaching, it's the reverse. I have a healthier relationship with myself, and I really know myself what I like, what I don't like, what I need, what I believe and what I value. It takes effort to change your self-talk and start being your biggest cheer leader. Eventually, you won't need to praise yourself, you'll just feel it and bloom and you will share that with others.


I am excited to announce that my 6 week group coaching program is happening in July! We will definitely be covering confidence building and overcoming limiting beliefs. I can help you change your self-talk and how you feel about yourself. Come join me now for a clarity interview online via zoom for 20 minutes. The clarity interview is a series of questions related to your goals, obstacles and achievements. It is private and confidential and a safe space. You can ask me your questions on the day and get to know me better and check out if we are a fit. There is no pressure to sign up, but do come and talk to me as it is an uplifting and positive experience.

Have a great weekend and stay blessed,


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