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Being too hard on yourself goes hand-in-hand with a low self-esteem. Signs of being too hard on yourself include excessive self-blame, self-criticism, negative self-judgment, self-punishment, and dwelling on your mistakes or flaws. Additionally, you may overlook or discount your positives. It is detrimental to your well-being and it’s important to stop it. Stop being too hard on yourself and build your self-esteem.
How to Stop Being Too Hard on Yourself
To stop being too hard on yourself, it’s important to be reasonable and treat yourself with respect. Empower yourself to make your life better rather than wasting your energy beating yourself up.
- Have realistic expectations. Know that it’s okay to make mistakes because you’re human. Nobody’s perfect and life’s not perfect. You have to make mistakes to learn and grow, and life’s not always how you want it. Embrace your life’s journey and commit to learning and self-improvement. Focus your efforts on those things you can change.
- Look for the lessons in everything. When something does go wrong, acknowledge the mistake, look for the lessons and stop beating yourself up over it. Some criticism can be justified at times, however, it’s important to keep it constructive and in perspective. Ask yourself what you’ve learned and what you can do differently next time. Think of stumbles as growth opportunities.
- Challenge your negative inner critic. Your thoughts and words matter, and negative thoughts distort your reality. There’s nothing to be gained from criticizing yourself over and over again. Stop dwelling on your mistakes. It’s a waste of energy, it’s disempowering and it will keep you stuck. Challenge the negativity and focus your energy on moving forwards.
- Focus on the positives. There are always positives, however, you probably won’t see them when you’re too hard on yourself. You will have to make a conscious effort to see them. Ask yourself what you’ve done well, and the things that you like about yourself and your life. It might help to write them down, or use a journal.
- Put things in perspective. Is your life or mistake really as catastrophic as you think, and will it matter in, say, 10 years from now? It can help to talk to someone you trust.
- Use affirmations. For example “I am not perfect but I am learning and growing.” or “I did my best with what I knew at the time.”
- Treat yourself as a best friend. Be kind to yourself and love yourself as an imperfect person. Give yourself permission to try things out, to make mistakes and to learn and grow. Nurture yourself as a person and see your overall worth.
Being too hard on yourself keeps you from moving forwards, however, you can learn to stop it. It will take perseverance and effort but it’s well worth it. If you’re having trouble, or feeling persistently stuck, don’t be afraid to get the help you need.