Being hard on yourself is part of the human condition, but some do it worse than others. Maybe you’re one of those people who are super hard on themselves. I’m not suggesting that there’s an easy way out of this habit because it often runs deep and is very difficult to shake. Rather, I’m offering some possible solutions to make life just a little bit better. So you’ll be just slightly kinder to yourself.
Fake it until you make it. Often times cliche phrases like “you’re doing your best!” make you roll your eyes, they don’t actually help. On the other hand, pretending they do can surprisingly have benefits. Just going ahead and pretending you feel good about yourself can sometimes rub off on you, leaving you actually feeling good about yourself. This is also called “acting as if” and it works!
Think of failures as lessons. Everyone fails, it’s an inevitable part of life. You go to the extreme with it, though, by beating yourself up like there’s no tomorrow. Instead of doing this, why don’t you think of the “failures” as lessons? There’s always something to be learned when things go awry. When you think of them as lessons you’ll stop beating yourself up so much because you’ll look on the bright side.
Write a gratitude journal. It’s hard to be too down on yourself when you’re reflecting about how grateful you are. Expressing gratitude (even when you don’t want to) tends to have the effect of warming your heart. Especially when you feel grateful for something like your legs for carrying you around or your eyes for allowing you to see beauty. Then it’s a little more challenging to be too hard on yourself.
Observe your thoughts. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just pay attention to what’s going on in your mind. Observing your thoughts allows you to gain insight into what triggers you and what your patterns are. Sometimes just taking a look can help to dissolve thoughts or at least remove some of the power they have over you. Plus, when you hear how you talk to yourself you’ll probably be horrified.
Drop the perfectionism. You expect so much of yourself that your expectations are out of this world. Naturally, you can’t measure up to what you expect of yourself, so you beat yourself up. Instead of falling into this pattern, you could break up with perfectionism. Stop looking for everything in your life to be flawless. You’re a human, you’re going to make mistakes and “fall short.” It’s okay.
Surround yourself with good people. Being surrounded by toxic people can take a toll on your sense of self. You can start to feel like you’re no good. Instead, surround yourself with positive people who will lift you up. They’ll remind you just how awesome you are. They likely also feel good about themselves, so maybe some of that will rub off on you and you’ll stop beating yourself up so much!
Think about the humanity of others. Sometimes beating yourself up can make you feel like you’re the only one feeling the way that you are. The reality, though, is that others mess up all the time. They also feel inadequate and beat themselves up, too, to varying degrees. You’re never alone in this.
Stop comparing yourself to others. It’s okay to identify with others, but you run into trouble when you start stacking your life against theirs. In truth, you have no idea what their inner life looks like. So, stop assuming that others are doing better than you. It’s only dragging you down further. Instead, keep the focus on you and what you can do for yourself.
Talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Talk to a trusted friend about how you’re beating yourself up so much. They may have advice for you, they may tell you that they experience something similar, or they may remind you how awesome you actually are. Sharing what you’re going through makes you feel a whole lot better. Plus you get to hear out loud how awfully mean to yourself you are and maybe this will be a deterrent.
Take good care of yourself. Even though you may not feel like it, be sure to practice good self-care. When you treat yourself like you deserve to be taken care of, you may actually feel like it. Plus, after all that beating yourself up you must be totally exhausted. You probably need extra sleep, a bubble bath, and a yummy sweet of your choice.