Self analysis & criticism are one of those parts of life that are both extremely good for you (and for those around you), and also extremely uncomfortable to do, if you do it well, or at least if you try to.
I've been analyzing and criticizing myself since I was a teenager. I began at around 14 - 15 years old and I've been doing it since then. It became like a reflex, a second nature. Whenever I do something, regardless of whether it is good, or bad, I self analyze and self criticize myself in order to find more about me.
Sometimes, the things I realize are not as pleasant as I'd like them to be. Other times, I am pleased with myself, although it rarely happens.
When I talk to other people, I try to analyze our conversation afterwards and criticize the way I've been talking, the words I used, the way I acted during the conversation and whether the other person might've enjoyed it. I try to figure out whether I was mean, whether I was a jerk, whether I was irrational or whether I was so convinced of my own arguments, and so ignorant of the other person's knowledge, that I simply refused to properly listen to what they had to say.
When I work, I try to pay attention to both the quantity of things I do, and their quality. Since I currently work in a kitchen, being fast, and doing a good job, are very important things. If I only focus on quantity, I get to do a lot of things, but doing them badly means I have to redo them or, worse, someone has to do them again for me. If I only focus on quality, I take too much time doing anything and I don't do enough things.
And when I get my break, I try to analyze and self criticize myself based on the things I'm doing in my free time. If I'm playing a game instead of reading, when I should have, I tell myself I'm lazy. If I read when I should be relaxing or sleeping, I tell myself I work too much.
Self analysis and self criticism are two of the most useful things I've been doing so far. It helps me correct myself and walk on the right path towards being a good person. If I abandon the path, I usually get back to it quickly, after taking a close look at myself.
Here are some of the things that I got to realize after doing this up to this point:
- I'm nothing but a human being on a small planet in a universe that is so big I cannot even comprehend its size. I am not special, nor better than everyone around me. I need to be humble and to realize others probably know more than me. Being quiet and listening will help me learn more than talking and seeking attention.
- Few things make as good of an impression on people than hard work. Putting all your efforts and energy into working, and trying your best to do the best you can, will be noticed by the people who care about their business and the tasks they are responsible for. Work hard, and you'll receive the rewards you deserve, in time. If you don't, you might not be working hard for the right people. Don't get lazy - instead, change your job / work.
- Don't complain. Complaining gets you nothing. Doing it as a fun thing, when you're in a group, and you're gossiping and you're all having fun, it's fine. But complaining day and night and blaming everyone else for everything is not gonna improve your life or gain you the sympathy of other people. If you don't like the people around you, be around other people. If you don't like your job, change it. If you don't like your work, do something else.
- Criticize yourself way before you begin criticizing others, or complaining about them and what they do. This I see almost on a daily basis, and quite often at my current workplace. People criticizing others and talking behind their back and living under the impression that they're the only ones working and that no one else is. As I said at point 1 - you're not special. You're surely not doing as much work as you think you are. Complaining that something is not done, or not done right, while sitting around and doing nothing yourself, doesn't put you in a better position. Do the thing that needs to be done, period. No one likes the guy or girl who sits around telling others "you're not doing this well, and you're not doing this well, and that guy is not doing that well" and so on. Look at yourself, at how you are and what you do, before talking about others.
- Education is very important. Common sense is very important. Behave in an educated way around others and be nice. This goes hand in hand with hard work.
The list could go on. But I'm gonna stop here.
Self analysis and criticism aren't the most pleasant things to do, not if you do them right. We could all sit around thinking that we're amazing and much better than others around us but that's nothing but self praise. Proper self analysis and criticism will make you realize that you're not as great as you thought. It might even make you realize that you're actually quite an asshole, that you complain too much and that there's a good reason not a lot of people like you. You think they do? Think again.
However, as uncomfortable and as depressing as it might be at times, looking at yourself as often as possible in order to point out the flaws in your character and in your actions will, if done properly and if accompanied by a desire to improve, transform you into a better person in time.
With that, you'll manage to get better relationships with people, gain the respect of those around you and live a better life, at least when you're not busy searching for flaws in yourself.
If you need help to start, here's a simple tip - search for (or invent) a role model. It can be a person, it can be a character, it can be real or fictive, it doesn't matter, but have an ideal type of person you'd like to be.
You might never achieve that ideal, but it's worth working towards it. You'll have a goal, and you'll know where you need to go. It won't be easy, and it will require quite a lot of effort. You will fail often, and you shouldn't be too harsh on yourself when you do. It's natural to fail. But striving towards becoming the ideal person that you wish to be will, in time, help you become a much better person than you currently are.