I have a tendency of being hard on myself. I like being productive, I like getting sh*t done, and I have lofty goals that I still have yet to achieve.
But one thing that I have had to learn recently (especially throughout this last month with the entire world shutting down), is that I need to be a little bit easier on myself.
As challenging as it has been, I have realized that it’s okay for me to not be constantly going at a speed of a million miles per hour. It’s okay for me to sit back and relax once in a while without focusing on the task on my to-do list. It’s okay for me to make mistakes in life without feeling guilty for it. Nobody is perfect, and the more I try to be perfect, the more challenging life becomes.
If you are like me, any setback or mistakes can almost feel deflating. For some reason I have always had this mindset that if I am hard on myself, then I will accomplish more or I will be able to stop myself from making the same mistake again in the future.
To some extent, being hard on yourself can actually be beneficial. It can help to provide you with a sense of motivation when you would otherwise be lacking it, it can help you to focus your attention on what matters most to you, and it can help you to be more productive and efficient with your time.
But being too hard on yourself comes with a cost.
Damaging Effects Of Being Too Hard On Yourself
In looking back on all of the times that I have been too hard on myself, only now can I see that I wasn’t failing. I was actually far from the failure that I thought I was. But when you are so focused on perfection, you begin to judge your every move, which prohibits you from seeing any of the progress you are making.
Here are 3 damaging effects of being too hard on yourself.
1. You crush your self-esteem.
Every time you tell yourself that you aren’t good enough, you slowly start to suck away any of your self-confidence. You start to feel even more poorly about yourself, you start to shy away from taking chances on yourself, and essentially, you start to sabotage your success.
The more you do this, the more frustration and animosity you start to feel towards yourself. Eventually, you start to spiral into a deep dark hole of depression and sadness.
2. You have less fun.
When you experience this deep and dark hole of depression and sadness, you start to have less and less fun. Not just with one task, but in life as a whole.
Instead of focusing on progression, you start to focus on every little mistake that you make and allow these mistakes to determine your fate. When you resort to this mindset, life becomes miserable. Instead of enjoying the process of growing into the person you want to become, you start to allow all of these mistakes to add up until you lack the confidence to do any of the basic tasks that life throws our way.
3. You sabotage your success.
If you aren’t having fun with what you’re doing and if you don’t feel confident in your abilities, you are never going to achieve the success that you desire. It’s that plain and simple.
Success comes to those who not only enjoy what they’re doing on a daily basis, but also to those who are willing to learn from their mistakes, who are willing to pick themselves back up after they have experienced failure, and to those who keep going no matter how large of a challenge they are facing.
These are some of the side-effects that I have experienced from being too hard on myself. And to be completely honest, it sucked. I knew I wanted better for myself, but I just didn’t know how to find that image of what a better life looked like.
Learning To Go Easy On Yourself
As cliche as it may sound, it wasn’t until I started to show myself the respect that I wanted others to show me that I was able to start achieving the life that I desired for myself. Is my life perfect? No. But it is a lot better than it has ever been.
Here are 4 tips for how you can be kinder to yourself and tips that will help you to go easy on yourself.
1. Remember that you are not perfect.
The goal of life isn’t to be perfect. The goal of life is to be the best that you can be.
There is no such thing as perfection. As good as we may be at something, there is always going to be room for improvement. If we want to be kinder to ourselves, then we need to learn to let go of the impossibility of ever being perfect and to focus on our progression instead.
2. Reflect on the difference between a negative and a positive life.
One thing that has helped me to release the stress of trying to be perfect has been to reflect on the difference between a negative mindset and a positive mindset. When I am in a negative state of mind, life becomes miserable. When I am in a positive state of mind, life is far more enjoyable and meaningful. I am forced to ask myself if I would rather be miserable trying to achieve a perfect life, or would I rather be happy and focusing on being the best that I can be.
If you ask me, it’s a pretty easy choice to make.
3. Re-examine your priorities.
One of the reasons why I tended to be too hard on myself is because I felt as though I had to keep up a certain image for the approval of others. Life almost became a competition against the world around me.
When we are feeling down on ourselves or as if we are being too hard on ourselves, it’s important that we take a step back and reexamine our priorities. Do we really want to live our life based on the opinions of others? Or would we rather live our lives to be the individual that we want to be?
Whatever option you choose, just know that the choice is yours, and only yours to make.
4. Stop and focus on the progress you have made.
I am incredibly guilty of this. As soon as I accomplish something, I immediately go right onto the next task on my to-do list instead of acknowledging the progress that I have made and all that I have accomplished thus far.
We all need to let go of the impossible standards that we often set for ourselves and focus on the progress that we have made so far. Think about where you were 10 years ago compared to where you are today. Just imagine how much your life will change in another 10 years.
The possibilities are truly endless. Don’t get too caught up in trying to be perfect, and focus on the progression that you are making instead. Treat life as the fun and enjoyable gift that it is meant to be.
Life truly is what you make it to be. The harder you are on yourself and the more you focus on perfection, the more miserable you are going to be. The more you learn to go easy on yourself and simply give your best effort, the more enjoyable life is going to be.
From somebody who has been there, choose to go easy on yourself and let go of the idea of perfection. Make the most of your life each and every day, live a life of gratitude, and be the best that you can be. Life is meant to be enjoyed, so start making the most out of every day for the blessing that it is.