How To Stop Being So Hard on Yourself: 11 Ideas To Consider
Why Am I So Hard on Myself?
This is all about how to stop being so hard on yourself.
But before we get down and dirty with that thought, I have one thing to say.
Oops, that was two things. Well, two sounds at least.
Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why are we so quick to pick ourselves and our choices apart?
It can be like second nature to almost bully ourselves when we feel like we aren’t measuring up in some way.
And let’s be very clear that working on this is not an overnight type of thing. You can’t just flip a switch.
It takes time and practice. (and quite a bit of patience) But with anything, we have to start somewhere.
Let’s strive to have a healthy relationship with ourselves. One that (fingers crossed) has some positive notes.
After all, the relationship we have with ourselves is the most important one we have. Let’s treat it as such.
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Here Are 11 Tips About How To Stop Being So Hard on Yourself
1) Lean into the Why
Ask yourself some tough questions. And then take the time to answer those questions.
For me, I can trace a lot of this back to my childhood. (as most of us surely can)
The idea that I had to meet a certain standard to gain acceptance is one I still grapple with. If I had to give my younger self a label, it would be that of the good kid. We now know that being the good kid or the easy kid is not necessarily a good thing.
It often takes coming into adulthood to begin feeling the full gravity of our childhood experiences.
And maybe this area will always be a sore spot for me.
But the more we dive deeper into struggles rather than avoid them, the more true growth can occur.
Being able to pair a behavior with some sort of explanation can be very validating.
It also doesn’t mean things should stay the way they are. It opens up space for growth, change, and improvement.
2) Pay Attention
Really pay close attention to how you are treating yourself. How you are talking to yourself.
I’m not saying to pause every five minutes and write down every thought you have toward yourself. That would be very time-consuming.
But reflecting can be a great tool when we utilize it consistently. (more on how to do this in #5)
This concept especially rings true when you feel like you made a mistake or dropped the ball. That’s the time to lean in and pay close attention. (so so so much easier said than done but just try)
3) Write Down Something You Are Proud of
Our minds focus on the negative. They gravitate toward it.
Acknowledge some positive things about yourself.
At first, this might feel very strange or foreign. It’s okay for it not to be this beautiful or natural process. But hopefully, the more we do this action, the more it won’t feel like this weird or forced activity.
Being able to acknowledge and recognize positive attributes or accomplishments of any size is very beneficial.
4) Examine Your Expectations
Are you setting realistic expectations for yourself?
An example from my life relates to the cleanliness of my home.
For so long, I would profusely apologize for my house not being spotless. I have recently come to the realization that my home will never be the level of cleanliness that I see plastered all over social media.
I have kids. And we live here.
So what needed adjusting was not my cleaning habits but rather my expectations.
None of us will ever be able to do it all. At least not in a thriving manner. And to be honest, the real key is to move further and further away from the idea that our value comes from how much we can accomplish.
That measuring system is dangerous.
Are you setting seriously unrealistic expectations for yourself?
5) Write it Down
We talked about paying attention earlier but this takes it a step further.
Grab a journal and write down how you treat yourself. How you talk to yourself. How you view yourself.
Put it down on paper so you can sort of sort through what’s going on.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s no need to keep a pen and paper permanently in your hand and never miss a thing. (that would be an unrealistic expectation)
Maybe at the end of the day, circle back to a specific situation from that day.
Self-reflection in whatever capacity you can manage can be a game changer.
Seeing things on paper can help you gain some insight.
6) Practice Being Kind To Yourself
Treat yourself as you would a friend.
Being hard on ourselves is not productive. We might feel as if being tough on ourselves will yield a different result in the future. But making yourself feel bad is most likely not the way.
If a friend or family member came to you with any sort of issue or problem, what would you say?
My guess is you would react with compassion. With grace. You wouldn’t add fuel to the fire or pour salt on a wound.
That same approach should be taken with yourself. Again, so much easier said than done. You know what, most things are easier said than done.
However, putting effort into the hard things will have a payoff and be worth it.
7) Move Forward
So often we are hard on ourselves for something that has happened in the past. And we just can’t seem to shake the feeling associated with that particular situation.
This is a tough one. We can easily get sucked into playing the “what if” game. We can play a scenario in our minds over and over replaying where it went wrong.
Here’s the thing. We can not change the past. There’s just no way to do that. (yet, at least)
So holding onto past mistakes is not serving us well. It casts a shadow on our lives now.
Practice being present in the here and now.
Try to embrace forgiveness. Try to view past experiences through the lens of what you learned from it.
But the takeaway here is that a constant punishment cycle can and will wear you down.
8) Take Care of Yourself
Like we’re talking really good care of ourselves.
You are important. You are valuable. Treat yourself as such.
The way we treat ourselves has such a ripple effect on other areas of our lives.
One giant way you can do this is by setting boundaries in your daily life. If this concept is foreign to you, definitely check out this amazing book that breaks it all down.
9) Positivity Breaks
It is not possible to only consume positivity. We are real people who live in the real world and deal with daily life. (which is full of challenges and struggles)
This is not about seeing your life or the world as something with only rainbows and unicorns.
But small injections of joy or encouragement or motivation can provide some relief and also some perspective.
I’m a big fan of things like this motivational calendar.
Also, do not underestimate seemingly small things like listening to some music or taking a walk.
10) Watch Your Social Circle
The people you spend time with impact you. There’s no way around this.
This can include social media.
Surround yourself with supportive people that make you feel good. People that add something to your life. Not suck the life out of you.
11) Don’t Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Let me explain that a little more in-depth.
In so many situations, our focus is solely on the outcome. And that makes sense. The outcome seems like the leading character.
However, there’s a lot that happens in the journey to that outcome. (and the outcome is not some mighty endgame either)
Try to give the process it’s time to shine. It deserves some focus as well. Focusing on the process is also a great way to practice being flexible and learning from setbacks rather than letting them derail you.
Have any ideas about how to stop being so hard on yourself? Share!
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