harsh self judgement

A follow up question to your column on harsh self judgment: how do we learn to differentiate between inappropriate self criticism and the genuine need for self evaluation. I have never been able to find a satisfactory way to do a quick review of how I handled a certain situation without being extremely critical of myself.
Ardmore, PA

there are no hard rules about this, but if you find that you are beating yourself up when you evaluate your behavior, it's pretty safe to say you are on the wrong track.  Any review of your behavior should be done with compassion.  You must trust that you are a good person and performing best you can.  And that if you are not performing best you can, there are very real reasons why you have not.  So a self-evaluation should not feel harsh, it should feel constructive.