by Catherine Pratt
Recently, I was asked the following question about how to stop being so hard on yourself. I thought I'd share this question and my response as I'm sure there are many people who are going through the same situation.
How do I stop being so hard on myself?
We’re definitely our own worst enemy sometimes.
Things we’d forgive in others, we can’t forgive in ourselves. We also seem to hold ourselves up to a much higher standard than what we expect from others.
If you’re being hard on yourself because you feel you made a mistake, then my favorite technique with this is to take a step back and ask yourself what good things came out of the situation. It may be hard at first but if you keep at it, you should be able to come up with quite a few.
It could be things like:
- you've learned a lot about yourself.
- You've grown in way you wouldn't have if you hadn't gone through the situation.
- you've gained an appreciation for something or someone (could be your friends, your family or even your co-workers).
- if a similar situation happens in the future, you'll have a better idea on how to handle it.
- you’ve gained a new skill
Write down anything and everything that turned out to be a benefit of going through this situation. Some of the worst events eventually turn out to be the most amazing, positive turning points in our lives. You may discover that you wouldn't have been able to get to this new wonderful place if you hadn't gone through what was initially a horrible thing. You may also be so much stronger and wiser for having gone through it.
Also, it's important to remember, that you're human and that you make mistakes. That's what life is about. It's a learning experience. You get to improve a little bit more every single day. You don't need to fear making mistakes.
Also, patience. The first time you encounter a new situation, you may not know how to handle it. It takes time to learn new things. Enjoy the learning process.
Another part of this is to be aware of how you talk to yourself whenever you're learning new things. Telling yourself that you're "too slow" or "too clumsy" is only hurting yourself. So whenever you catch yourself putting yourself down like this, change it to something like, "look how fast I'm learning this" or "I've come a long way since I first started this." For more tips on this, I've got an article called, "How Do You Talk To Yourself?" which might interest you.
The way you choose to react to a situation comes from your understanding of the facts at the time. You may learn additional things later that would change the way you'd respond in the future but at the time of the event, you made the best decision you could. That's what you have to remember. You did the best you could at the time of the event. Forgive yourself. You did the best you could.
You also can't let past regrets stop you from moving forwards in your life. Sid Smith has a great quote that says, "You can suffer from a life experience, or you can learn, move on and thrive. The choice of how you react to an experience is yours.” I have a short article called, "Regrets - 5 Reasons We Have Them and How to Make Them A Positive Experience" which might give you some additional ideas.
Continuing to be hard on yourself doesn't help you. Learning and growing from the experience makes it have meaning.
It's natural right after a situation has occurred that you might replay the event over and over again in your head. Your brain wants to figure out why things went wrong.
If you find that you just can't stop replaying it, then try using something like the "ho 'oponopono prayer". With this prayer, you say, “Forgive Me, Thank You, I’m Sorry, I’m Grateful” over and over in your head. You're saying it to the universe not one particular person. By doing this, you start to heal yourself. It allows you to start loving yourself again. A more detailed version of the process can be found here: "ho' oponopono". As Joe Vitale says "Loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve your world."
You may also need to start asking yourself, "why" it bothers you so much? Are there feelings of hurt or anger that you still haven't dealt with yet? Once you deal with those feelings you should be able to move on. You may want to read through "Self Growth Through Anger" to give you some more strategies on dealing with this.
One other thing to remember is that whenever you catch yourself feeling "bad" (could be angry, frustrated, bored) then you'll know that you're stuck focusing on what you don't want. You need to turn this around to be what you do want which then releases you from the "feeling bad" emotions. I talk about this much more in depth in my book, "3 Questions That Will Change Your Life".
Also, after a certain amount of time has passed, you need to let yourself know that it's in the past and you now need to focus on the future. Also, give yourself permission to stop being so hard on yourself. You don't need to be punished forever. You've learned the lesson and you can grow and move on. You need to start asking yourself what do you want to do with your life, your dreams, your interests? What do you want to do? Then start to focus on the future and achieving your goals. You have learned a lot along the way and you're now ready to move forwards.
I hope that helps. This should give you some good ideas to start with anyway.