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Stop Being So Hard on Yourself

Updated on January 20, 2014
Ease up on yourself! Photo by farconville at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Ease up on yourself! Photo by farconville at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most of us beat ourselves up constantly about something we think we didn't do right, should have done better, didn't succeed at enough, habits we can't break, the way we look, our weight...it goes on and on. We are caught in the "I have to be perfect" cycle. God forbid we make a mistake!

I have been like this most of my life, without realizing it until recently. I didn't think I was perfect by any means, but I tried my darndest to be. What a strain on a person. It wears you out and makes life much harder than it should be.

I'll bet each of you reading this has at least one thing (and likely more than that) you don't like about yourself or think you should change. Now don't get me wrong, if you have a horrible character flaw, like being cruel to everyone you come in contact with, then yes, I think you should beat yourself up over it and change. But most of us have nothing that bad to be so critical of ourselves over.


Being negative in this way to ourselves is not only emotionally damaging, but can lead to health problems too. Putting that much stress on yourself is plain not healthy. So, how to stop? That's the big question, isn't it? We have been doing it for so long, we don't even realize it.

The first thing is to realize that mistakes happen and they usually aren't that important. They can, in fact, help us learn how to do something better. So if you make a mistake, big deal. You now know what doesn't work or what you shouldn't do, so you move on from there. Thomas Edison said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

I had to stop being such a perfectionist when my anxiety disorder reared it 's ugly head again. I simply can't do some of the things I normally would. But a huge step for me was that I realized that the things I was obsessing about (like not getting all the housework done I wanted to) didn't matter as much as I thought they did. I finally said, "who cares if the table is a little dusty" and meant it. Life is about more than a dust free table.

I am probably more critical of myself than anyone else is and I'll bet you are too. We see so many faults in ourselves that no one else sees, but we think they do. I always thought my nose was bumpy and was kind of self conscious of it. This changed when a friend of mine, whose an artist, told me one time that I had the perfect nose. Another man I was crazy about told me I had the cutest nose he'd ever seen. Neither of them knew of my feelings about my nose. So, that finally made me realize my nose was fine...maybe better than fine! Just an example of how we see ourselves compared to how others see us.



You are ok the way you are! Photo by artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
You are ok the way you are! Photo by artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have been reading a lot lately about how important it is to love yourself. To be honest, I rolled my eyes at the thought at first, thinking how selfish this was. Hmmm...selfish? The more I read about it and mused over it, the more sense it made. Why couldn't I love myself? I certainly loved others enough, why should I not give myself the same kind of love and support I gave them? So I am trying now to love myself more. I never really thought about it, but we must in order to be the best to ourselves we can be. And we deserve it. We DO deserve it.

You are just fine the way you are. We change things over the years and that's fine, but there are plenty of things we don't need to change. Stop being so hard on yourself and learn that you are fine, with all your quirks (as I like to call them). You are you and that's good enough.

Another thing I realized is that people like you better when you aren't perfect and can admit it. Think about it. Do you feel more comfortable around someone who seems perfect or someone who isn't ashamed of their imperfections? We all like to know we aren't alone and some of the best conversations revolve around shared "faults." The "OMG...you do that too?" kind. You laugh and feel better about yourselves.

So...be gentle with yourself and no beating yourself up! The people who count love you just the way you are.



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