There’s a difference between self-awareness and self-criticism. Self-awareness leads you towards insight, while self-scrutiny leads you into the world of delusion. Think about self-scrutiny— what standards do you hold yourself up to? Why do you hold yourself to those standards? What influences led you to try to become someone else, to deride yourself for behaving in a certain way?
The true self already exists in its perfected form, but one of life’s greatest tasks is uncovering it. It is uncovered not through criticism, but through understanding and recognition. You must look within yourself as a neutral party views a trial, not so much judging as observing.
Let yourself be drawn to the true parts of yourself by intuition. Next time you notice that you are judging yourself, comparing yourself to others, or getting down on yourself, ask yourself why. Reflect rather than indulging. You’ll soon find that self-criticism is usually the ego of past experience and future expectations.
It wants you to fit a certain mold of society, family, or just your own culturally influenced standards. It causes you suffering because it is constantly asking you to search for yourself outside of yourself, to become someone who you aren’t. Learn to notice its influence and politely ignore it. This will greatly aid you in figuring out who you really are.