How do I stop being so hard on myself about everything? I am ruining my life with the stress I put on myself.
Dear Super Critical,
First off, let me commend you for recognizing that you have a problem. That is always the first step to solving any issue. I must admit… I had to step back and think about this question because I am the exact opposite, so it made me take a good long look at myself as I thought about how to respond to you.
Being overly critical of yourself for the most part is a low self-esteem issue. Most of the time, we do not even realize that we are down on ourselves since, more that likely, it has been slowly getting worse since childhood. Self-hate is something that slips in a little at a time. We hear ourselves saying things like, “I suck! What was I thinking?” or, “How could I be so stupid?” Phrases like these come out easily but have a big impact on our inner psyche. Being hard on yourself is not something we are born doing; it is a learned response to criticism, shame, bullying, or it could be the result of a childhood trauma.
Regardless of what caused you to become overly critical of yourself, there are things you can do to start on the path of self-love. These include:
• Do not compare yourself to others. We are all unique.
• Stand up for what you believe in.
• We all make mistakes. They define who we are and how we handle what life throws at us. Remember, mistakes are a part of learning.
• Learn to accept praise as well as criticism. Sometimes we feel unworthy of praise. Stop allowing negativity to steal your joy. Bask in the praise once in a while.
• Accept your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.• Learn to recognize when you are being hard on yourself. What are your negative triggers?
• Surround yourself with positivity, add positive people who want the best for you, and drop the negative people from your like. Negativity breeds negativity.
• Remember, the problem did not happen in a day, so it probably will not be fixed in a day. Wake up every morning with an attitude of self-love. My motto is “fake it until you make it.” Put a smile on your face and do not let life get you down.
As always, I, Andy, am here to help with your everyday problems. Navigating personal relationships can be taxing especially to your own mental health. Just remember to stay true to yourself and most things will work out for the best.
If you want honest advice to any problem, issue, or question, let me help. I’m a local resident with a sociology degree from Georgia Southern. Send your problems to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you solve them!