Too hard on yourself?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Low Self-esteem

Low Self-esteem.
Photo courtesy of

Being kind to yourself is hard to do.

Are you harder on yourself than other people are?  Do you find it difficult to be nice to yourself?  Some people think that the way to make themselves a better person is to push themselves unmercifully.  If you’re one of those people who has difficulty being kind to yourself, you may be beating yourself up again and again.  There’s no evidence that beating yourself up is a way to motivate yourself to do better.  Continued harsh self-criticism can lead to depression and giving up.  How many of these self-critical habits do you have?

14 Ways you are beating yourself up again.

1. Can’t ever forgive your mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes.  Making mistakes is required for humans to learn.  If all you do is keep track of the score, this list of mistakes you made can lead to discouragement.  Learning to forgive your mistakes and move on is part of being a healthy, happy, human.

2. Nothing you do is ever good enough.

If you have come to believe that nothing you do is ever good enough, you are undermining your own life.  Being constantly negative about yourself lowers your self-esteem and your ability to accomplish anything in the future.

3. Criticism hurts like a deep wound.

If you allow criticism, yours or others, to live on after it is first given, you create deep wounds.  If you continue to hold on to criticism you’ve taken on the role of abuser.  Stop the self-abuse, accept yourself as you are, and move on.

4. You can’t accept compliments.

Not being able to accept compliments sets you up for poor self-esteem.  If you find it difficult to accept compliments take a look at why.  Declining compliments is not a form of modesty.  Learn to accept people’s compliments whether you can understand them or not.  When you get a compliment, rather than saying that was no big deal, learn to just say thank you.

5. You are constantly hoping for other’s approval.

People who constantly need other’s approval become dependent on that outside source of acceptance.  Learn to give yourself approval for things well done and to accept when they are less than well done.  The person whose approval should really matter to you is yourself.

6. You are afraid to let others see your flaws.

Not being able to let others see your flaws keeps people at a distance.  In close, honest, relationships you should feel comfortable enough to let other people see you as you really are.  If you feel you need to hide your flaws, take a look at the people around you and at yourself.  Good friends will accept you the way you are.  Feeling good about yourself begins with you excepting yourself the way you are.

7. You punish yourself before others can.

If you find that you are routinely punishing yourself for mistakes, you are being far too hard on yourself.  Punishment is only one-half of discipline.  Too much punishment becomes abuse.  Stop beating yourself up and learn to take care of yourself.

8. You need to fix everyone else. You are responsible for making them happy.

Your feelings are your feelings.  Other people’s feelings are their feelings.  You can try all you want but you can’t make somebody else feel happy.  If you find that you are constantly trying to fix everyone else, you are taking on responsibility for things that are not your job.  Allow other people to be responsible for their feelings.  Take responsibility for how you feel.

9. You try to be perfect so one flaw is a failure.

One very unhelpful thought is that you need to be perfect.  This all or nothing, black and white type thinking can be very damaging to your mental health.  Work on becoming more realistic.  No one is ever perfect.  Requiring yourself to make no mistakes is an unrealistic and impossible goal.  Take credit for the things you do well and correctly.  Accept that sometimes you make mistakes and move on.

10. You expect more from yourself than you expect from others.

If you consistently expect more from yourself than you expect from others, you have an unrealistic view of both yourself and them.  Learn to cut yourself some slack.  Accept that other people can do things also.  Stop trying to take responsibility for things that are out of your control.

11. You apologize even when it is not your fault.

A sure sign of being far too hard on yourself it is the need to apologize even when you are not at fault.  Apologize when you have a reason to apologize.  Do not apologize for things that are out of your control or other people’s errors.

12. You can’t ever accept help – even when you really need it.

The inability to accept help is another way in which many people are far too hard on themselves.  Learn to help others when they need it and accept help when you are in need.

13. You are afraid of disappointing anyone ever.

How others feel is their responsibility.  Sometimes you have to make choices.  You can’t do everything for everybody without completely giving away yourself.  Doing good self-care and keeping your life in balance means sometimes people will be disappointed.  Let them learn to deal with disappointment.

14. Your life is filled with regrets.

If you did it, then it wasn’t good enough, and if you didn’t do it, you should have. Every life has some requests.  Keep yours to a minimum.  You did what you did, and didn’t do what you didn’t do.  Accept what happened.  Your life, good and bad, has made you who you are.  Stop holding onto the regrets and move on.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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