How can I stop being so hard on myself when I don't do as well as I think I should?
Last Updated: 03/14/2017 at 3:48am
Temi Coker, MSC, MA, Dip.Cons
Licensed Professional Counselor
With over ten years experience, I offer a safe and confidential environment for you to collect your thoughts, worries & life problems with no judgement or assumptions.
Top Rated Answers
Maybe you think if you just worked hard enough, people would finally love and respect you. However, being "good enough" doesn´t earn you love or respect. What secures you love and respect will be having good, intimate relationships that value you as a person, not defining your values as "what you can do for them" or how successful or how much money or status or beauty you have. Once knowing this, it can be a start of healing your perfomance addiction.
Maybe you're only looking at what you've done in a small perspective. It's hard to do it, but you have to step away from the situation and think about it from a different perspective. Like getting a bad grade, it will not affect you nearly as bad as you may think it will. You have to remember that everyone makes mistakes all the time and if you beat yourself up to much, you can't grow and move on from that mistake.
It is so easy to be hard on ourselves. That old adage is true, "you are your own worst enemy." I guess, for me, I try to think about two specific things. 1) Did I prepare as well as I could have for the task? For example, if it's an exam and I didn't score as high as I had expected or hoped, do I still believe that I studied as best as I could have? You can always do more but at what cost? Did I study as hard for this exam as I could have given the other tasks that needed my attention? Did I learn something? And 2) What difference does it make? If I had scored 100% on an exam, sure that means I did not make any mistakes on that exam but does it move me any closer to my goals as a score of 90% or even 75%. Everybody makes mistakes, that is human nature. How would my life have changed if I did as well as I think I should have? If my life would be drastically different, then what can I learn from the mistakes I made in this experience to make sure I don't repeat them. If my life is the same as it would have been, then why am I being so hard on myself. We set expectations for ourselves and then compare our results to those expectations. But those expectations are built on learned messages and past experiences. Not on the present truth. The best advice I received once was from a former serviceman who came back from a tour in Iraq and was diagnosed with PTSD. He was speaking to our class many years later about how he had moved forward and what he had learned from his disease. He said, "Before my experience, I woke up with the bar set high. I had always been an overachiever and I judged myself at the end of the day based on my failures and successes from that day. After having served in Iraq, I realized that just surviving the day was a success. With my diagnosis, just getting through my really difficult nights and waking up in the morning was a success. Once I decided to set the bar based on those definitions of success, whether or not my to do list was completed at the end of the day was of little importance. I was a success at 6am when I woke up and 9pm when I went to bed because I was alive." I try to remember that when I judge myself too harshly.
Free yourself from self guilt . Try to clear your mind , focus and concentrate. Remind yourself a bit of hardwork will result in great rewards.Stay motivated.
You should acknowledge your successes more instead of only taking stock of your failures. We all have our limits and shortcomings but we also have a lot of things we're good at. And you can also evaluate why you think you did worse than you wanted to and come up with a plan to do better next time. You can do this! :)
Usually we're not as hard on others as we are on ourselves, so one strategy I've heard that can help trick your brain into thinking about yourself more objectively is to refer to yourself in the third person when self-reflecting or making decisions. Instead of thinking to myself, "What could I have done differently?" I think, "What could Amy have done differently?" It can help you think about yourself from an outside perspective.
You have to look at what you did and compare it to what you want to do. if you get a 75 on a test but wanted a better grade, study harder and set a goal for reaching 80 on the next test and eventually you will work yourself up to do as well as you hoped.
Its important to understand that determination and dedication go hand in hand; that pushing oneself is both admirable and sometimes dangerous, when one overexerts this privilege; being tough one oneself initiate hard work and persistence--true champions succeed by means of such exertion. On the other hand, its important to remain positive and aware, to not let yourself get bogged down with hard feelings, with not feeling adequate or accomplished; being too harsh on oneself is detrimental to ones health and happiness. Find a happy medium, be determined and diligent and aware of your boundaries; push for improvement and success with the appropriate steps and mannerisms; there is always room for progress. Patience and persistence are key, mindfulness and determination are too!
Being excessively hard on oneself is perhaps the most difficult thing to overcome. Yet, it is not impossible. With persistent efforts and attempts to understand that you are special, unique and deserve every bit of love, everything will get better. But more importantly, we must realise that there's no such thing as perfect. Learn to love yourself as you are and you will get better, I promise.
We all fail. And we don't always live up to our expectation. This is part of life. Too often we focus on the negative and forget about the positives. That is human nature. We strive to grow and improve. And being hard on yourself is that part of you that wants to evolve and get better. Don't stop wanting to improve, to grow just stop letting it affect how you feel about yourself as a person.
One of the keys to living life well is loving yourself more than how others love you. If you love yourself you will never blame yourself for anything action taken. Personally, before I do something I amke sure I have a good reason for doing it so after seeing the result whether not so good or good, I still give myself a pat in the back that, "oh girl, you tried your best". If my best isn't good enough, it doesn't in any way make me a failure or a disappointment, it just means I dear and I am courageous. I make an attempt when others cannot even move towards the attempt.
I stop and reflect on what I've done so far. See how far along I've come from when I was a kid up until now. Most of the time, I realize just how much I've grown and it inspires me and gives me the confidence to know that I don't have to be too hard on myself because I will succeed. Having a positive outlook really helps.
Repeat after me, "I did my best, given the circumstances of the situation." At the end of the day, what you did or the choice you made was what you thought was best at the moment in time. All you can do is learn from it and hope for the best.
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