Too hard on yourself:
Generally, when we are critical of ourselves and set standards that allow little rest or are too high, too fast or whatever, it is because we had an early experience of somehow taking in the measure we were not good enough.
We’re all our own worst critics.
Evolutionary psychologists have studied our natural “negativity bias,” which is that instinct in us all that makes negative experiences seem more significant than they really are. Sadly, we are primed to remember negative events and messages much more than positive ones which at some time probably served to help keep us safe (don’t go near the dangerous snake again) but in today’s society its becoming harder and harder to turn off the negative loop thinking that goes on in our heads most of the time.
CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) is particularly good at addressing this. (Read our other article “Mind Over Matter” which talks more about how to apply CBT to your life.)
We’ve evolved to give more weight to our flaws, mistakes, and shortcomings than our successes.
Self-criticism can even take a toll on both our minds and bodies.
It can lead to ruminative thoughts that interfere with our productivity, and it can impact our bodies by stimulating inflammatory mechanisms that lead to chronic illness and accelerate aging, according to a few studies (not much money for research for that to monetize that info.).
There are ways around our negativity bias, and it is possible to turn self-criticism into opportunities for learning and personal growth.
Clinicians are particularly concerned when clients are hard on themselves because that negative self-talk can lead to a lot of mental health problems including symptoms of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, negative self-image and, in a particularly vicious twist, decreased motivation.
It often leads to burn-out as well if you keep pushing yourself to do more and more.
I’m posting below some tips for not being so hard on yourself that I did not author.
Clinically I see more progress with using CBT.
I’d be interested in your thoughts.
Your mistakes are part of your learning.
Learn to be resilient in the face of failure.
Don’t compare yourself to others because you aren’t them.
You’re you, so accept yourself for who you are, faults and all.
There is no right way to do anything.
Don’t limit your thinking to a right or wrong way–there’s no right way to do the wrong thing, and no wrong way to do something right!
Stand up for what you believe, even if it’s unpopular.
Make everyone understand your big, crazy ideas. Learn from people who criticize you.
Don’t let criticism get you down; let it inspire you to work your ass off!
Accept your weaknesses as your “features”.
You aren’t good at everything you do, but nobody else is, either!
Look at your past as an adventurous biography.
Your past isn’t your identity and doesn’t dictate your entrepreneurial destiny.
Don’t underestimate your talent until you apply it 100 times.
Are you applying your natural talents?
Every single problem you have is not unique.
Put your problems in perspective and solve them faster.
Intelligence is relative, self-esteem is not.
Stay positive, take care of yourself, forget about being perfect, and always keep improving yourself.
Express your anger in a creative way.
Feel your anger, express it, and learn from it.
Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed.
Having people you can trust and rely on will make you happier and feel better about yourself.
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Author: Sharon Valentino, MFT
Valentino Therapy – CA LMFT, RAS, ChT, CATC IV (#51746)
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