I think it’s safe to say that most of us have pondered the question “how to stop beating yourself up” at some point in our lives. I certainly have. I have always been guilty of being my harshest critic.
When I was growing up, I was made to believe that my worth and value were tied to my achievements. I took that belief with me and I’ve allowed my achievement to become a benchmark for my self worth. For years, I relentlessly pushed myself to do more, be more and to continually prove to others ( mostly to myself ) that I was worthy.
I’ve set all these unrealistic expectations for myself and when I ultimately fall short of reaching those standards, I beat myself up. At that time, I actually believed that being my worst critic was the best thing to do.
I thought that continually criticizing my every little mistake would make me more accountable, driven, and less likely to repeat the same mistakes. I kept beating myself up for every little failure, every little setback, and every little flaw without realizing that doing this was actually preventing me from growing, rather than helping me move forward.
Constantly beating myself up did not motivate me or pushed me to be better. Instead, it paralyzed me from actually going after my goals believing that no matter how hard I try, I still won’t measure up.
It was wrong for me to believe that beating myself up would lead to success. I’ve learned that refusing to beat ourselves up and offering ourselves compassion and understanding doesn’t mean that we are being self indulgent.
By letting go of unrealistic standards and giving ourselves a safe space to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings, we are allowing ourselves to learn, grow, and evolve into the best version of ourselves. I’ve realized that growth and progress come from a place of self love and understanding.
If you’re also guilty of being your harshest critic, please know that you deserve to give yourself the same amount of love and kindness that you so freely give to your loved ones. I know that breaking the habit of being our worst critic is not easy, especially if it has been ingrained in us for the longest time.
But there are small things that we can do to help us stop beating ourselves up and start loving ourselves more. In this post, I will be sharing with you the steps I took that did not only helped me slowly break this habit but also allowed me to cultivate a greater sense of self love and self compassion.
I’m hoping that these steps will help you on your journey toward self love and self acceptance too!
How To Stop Beating Yourself Up
1. Let Go Of Perfectionism
One of the crucial aspects of learning how to stop beating yourself up is letting go of perfectionism.
For years, I have always worn perfectionism like it was a badge of honor. I was taught at a very young age that failure was not an option and that any setbacks or mistakes were a direct reflection of my worth and capabilities.
When I started getting older, I realized that society seemed to echo the same sentiment. Everyone praised flawlessness and those who never seemed to stumble and show any weakness. This only magnified my need to be perfect.
But over time, this relentless pursuit for perfection was so exhausting and paralyzing. I couldn’t even count the number of times I said no to opportunities that I really wanted just because I was too afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do them perfectly.
If you’re feeling the same way too, please know that your worth and value are never tied to your achievements. You are so much more than the sum of your successes and failures. Now, I honestly believe that perfection is just an illusion.
Human as we are, we are all bound to stumble, fail, and make mistakes but that doesn’t mean that we are no longer worthy of love, understanding, and second chances. Life is far too short to waste our time chasing over these unrealistic standards and expectations.
I’ve learned that life is not about avoiding mistakes, it is about embracing them and learning from them. It’s not about always getting things right, it is about having the courage to keep going even when things don’t go as planned. It’s time to free ourselves from the burden of constantly trying to be perfect and just live our lives.
2. Stop The Comparison Game
In today’s world, I know how easy it is to fall into the comparison trap. We see all these people seemingly living their best lives and just doing everything right. It often feels like they are always a hundred steps ahead while we are still here, still finding our footing.
They are there achieving all these great successes that make us question our own achievements, progress, and ultimately our worth and if we don’t measure up to their standards, we end up beating ourselves up for it. I’m certainly familiar with the feeling.
Growing up, I was constantly compared to other people and if I didn’t measure up to other people’s successes, I was made to feel worthless. Every time I tried to pursue something my first thought was always if it was enough to stand up against other’s achievements.
But as I grew older, I realized that by constantly comparing myself to other people, I was also living my life based on their own standards and not my own. This only made life so unhappy for me and ultimately it just made me feel so unfulfilled.
The reality is, constantly measuring our worth or success against others is just so mentally and emotionally draining. It’s a never-ending cycle of discontentment. It’s important to remember that we all have different journeys to take and that all the snippets that we are seeing of other people’s lives are just a fraction of what they are truly experiencing.
We are all fighting different battles and if we continue to compare ourselves with other people, we are only distracting ourselves from our own path and keeping ourselves from growing and going after our authentic passion and desires.
It’s time to finally live the life that we want and to embrace every moment of it instead of constantly comparing ourselves to others and letting their own benchmarks and standards dictate our self worth and happiness.
Please remember that you are worthy just as you are now, regardless of your achievements, failures, or the opinions of others.
Time is fleeting and let’s not waste it by spending so much time and energy comparing ourselves with other people and finally start living the life that we want.
3. Learn To Forgive
Learning to forgive is also one of the vital steps that will help you learn how to stop beating yourself up.
Forgiveness is not always easy and sometimes one of the most difficult things that we can do is to forgive ourselves. I know how this feels. I have always been guilty of holding on to past mistakes, regrets, and shortcomings that I have used to beat myself up time and time again.
I believed that by refusing to offer myself forgiveness and by constantly beating myself up for those past mistakes, I was keeping myself accountable and responsible. But the truth was, the only thing that it was doing was anchoring me from the past and slowly destroying my confidence, worth, and self esteem.
I’ve learned that forgiving yourself is not about minimizing the impact of your mistakes or dismissing the feelings of others. Self forgiveness is not about escaping accountability nor is it a sign of weakness.
It is about having the courage to face our own flaws and shortcomings head-on, accepting full responsibility for them, and doing all that we can to work toward growth and change. Please know that you deserve to offer yourself the same forgiveness that you extend to others.
Just as we learn to understand and forgive others for their mistakes and shortcomings, it’s vital to offer ourselves the same empathy. Know that everyone makes mistakes, the important thing is how we take responsibility, learn, and grow from them.
Know that constantly beating yourself up for all your past mistakes is not going to lead you to growth and healing. It will only trap you in a cycle of self doubt and so much negativity, making it so much more difficult for you to move forward and embrace new opportunities.
Please allow yourself the space to heal without drowning yourself in any self judgement.
4. Practice Self Compassion
We’ve probably heard the phrase “practice self compassion” more than a dozen times and yet this is still so difficult for us to do. Often it’s even so much easier to offer other people compassion, instead of ourselves.
We offer other people understanding, kindness, and empathy and yet when it comes to facing our own imperfections, mistakes, and shortcomings, we become our harshest critics. If you’re also guilty of doing this, please know that you deserve to give yourself the same grace and compassion you so readily give other people.
Often, the reason why we are constantly so hard on ourselves is because we think that doing this would push us to do better and be better ( this was the reason for me ) but I’ve learned that practicing self compassion is not about being complacent or ignoring our flaws.
It is about understanding that we all have weaknesses, acknowledging that mistakes are a natural part of life, and meeting them with kindness and understanding, instead of judgement and criticism.
So, please don’t hesitate to offer yourself love and understanding, especially when you’re struggling in life or when you are facing setbacks and disappointments. There is no better time to practice self compassion than in moments of challenges and adversities.
Please give yourself a safe space to embrace your imperfections, learn from your mistakes, and grow.
If you want to learn how to start loving yourself more, take this 30 day self love challenge now.
5. Set Realistic Expectations
I have always been guilty of setting all these unrealistic expectations and standards for myself thinking that doing this would push me to work even harder. When I hit rock bottom, I wanted to do everything that I could to turn my life around as soon as possible.
So, I set all these unrealistic goals with unrealistic timeframes believing that doing this would push me to work harder and faster. I thought that doing this would give me the motivation and urgency to turn my life around as quickly as possible.
But over time, the constant pressure of relentlessly pushing myself to meet all these impossibly high expectations just became too overwhelming to the point that it was paralyzing. Also, every time I would fall short of those expectations, I would just end up criticizing myself and beating myself up for it.
I’ve learned that there is nothing wrong with setting realistic expectations. While aiming high is certainly commendable, it’s important to strike a balance between aiming high and being realistic.
Setting realistic expectations does not mean that we are just settling for mediocrity nor does it mean that we are not aiming high. It means that we are only ensuring that our goals are achievable within a certain time frame and with the resources available to us.
Otherwise, we will only be setting ourselves up for disappointment, frustration, and burnout.
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6. Make Self Care A Priority
It’s so easy to take self care for granted. I was certainly guilty of this. It is just so difficult to make time for it, especially when we already have so many things on our plate, taking time for self care is probably the last thing on our minds.
I have always assumed that taking some time to practice this was nothing but a waste. Especially when you’re time can be better spent crossing things off your to-do list. But I was certainly wrong for believing that.
When I was navigating the lowest point of my life, I was so focused on improving my life that I focused all my time and energy on pushing myself to take all the steps needed to improve my life. I refused to take breaks and I relentlessly pushed myself to exhaustion and burnout, thinking that being hard on myself would help me achieve my goals faster.
But that wasn’t the case. By refusing to take care of my needs, I was unknowingly sabotaging my own progress. The reality is, we can’t keep pushing ourselves and ignoring our needs without expecting any consequences.
Sooner or later, refusing to take care of our needs will take so much toll on our physical, emotional, and mental health which will ultimately affect our productivity and motivation. Please know that it’s perfectly okay to rest and take breaks.
Self care is not selfish. I actually believe that self care is a necessity. We can’t expect ourselves to show up for other people and continue going after goals if we are constantly stressed and running on empty.
Practicing self care allows us the chance to reflect on what we are currently feeling and re-evaluate our expectations. It gives us the space to understand that it’s okay not to be perfect and it’s okay to have off days. It allows us the chance to stop being too hard on ourselves and meet our shortcomings with understanding, kindness and patience.
7. Challenge Negative Self Talk
Challenging negative self talk is a crucial step in breaking the negative cycle of self criticism. For years, every time I would talk negatively towards myself or criticize myself, I’ve never challenged it.
I had always assumed that it was what I needed and that doing that would push me to work harder and rise above my shortcomings. But that wasn’t the case.
What I failed to realize was that this relentless negative self talk wasn’t motivating me in any way, but rather it was only draining my energy and diminishing my confidence and self worth. It came to a point that I wouldn’t even try to go after the things that I really wanted because I believed that no matter how hard I worked, I still wouldn’t measure up.
One of the biggest steps that helped me stop beating myself was learning to challenge my negative self talk. Every time I would think, “I’m not good enough to do this”, I took a moment to stop and reflect on that thought. I started asking myself if this thought was really true or if it was just based on the external criticism I’ve received for years that I took with me.
Allowing myself the chance to pause and reflect on that negative thought served as a reality check that helped me question the validity of those self-criticisms. One of the things that also helped me stop this habit is that whenever I catch myself spiraling into a loop of self criticisms, I actively remind myself of past achievements, no matter how small they are.
Doing this will help remind us that we are more than capable of handling the challenges life throws our way.
8. Focus On Your Efforts
Another vital step that can help you learn how to stop beating yourself up is focusing on your efforts, instead of solely on the outcomes.
I used to associate my capabilities and self worth entirely with the results I achieved. If I succeeded, I felt validated and worthy but when I fell short of my expectations and failed, it felt like a direct reflection of my abilities and value.
This type of mindset was not only mentally and emotionally draining but it was also completely harmful to my confidence and self esteem. Over time, I’ve realized that while outcomes are essential, they shouldn’t be the sole metric of our worth and abilities.
Choosing to focus on our efforts is not about ignoring the results or outcomes. It is about understanding that the journey is just as significant as the destination. I’ve learned that it’s important to remember that every step in our journey, no matter how small, contributes to our growth and helps shape who we are, regardless of the outcome.
Let’s keep reminding ourselves that while achievements are certainly commendable, it’s the person we become in the pursuit of those achievements that truly matters.
9. Avoid Overgeneralizing
Every time you make a mistake, are you also guilty of having this thought, “I always mess things up”? I certainly do.
I have always been guilty of overgeneralizing. Every time I faced a setback or made a single mistake, I would use that single thing to define my entire characteristics and abilities. It didn’t matter how many times I succeeded, if I stumbled once, that would become the dominant proof of my capabilities.
It was like I was punishing myself over and over again by only choosing to remember the times I made a mistake and failed and overlooking all those times I succeeded. This type of mindset was not only exhausting and draining but it was also one of the main reasons why I started to doubt myself more and more each day.
If you’re guilty of doing this too, please know that your mistakes do not define your whole characteristic. Human as we are, we are all bound to stumble and make mistakes from time to time but that doesn’t mean that we are total failures or any less deserving of love, understanding, and acceptance.
It’s important to always remember that mistakes are just part of the journey, they don’t define your entire identity or worth. It’s time to free ourselves from that toxic habit and stop letting our mistakes overshadow our worth and potential.
Here’s a great post that’ll help you learn how to stop overgeneralizing from Verywellmind.
10. Set Healthy Boundaries
How many times have you constantly overextended yourself to other people regardless of how exhausted and drained you already felt? I couldn’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve done this.
I’ve learned that if I wanted to learn how to stop beating myself up, I also needed to learn how to set healthy boundaries. I have always been guilty of taking on more than what I could handle believing that doing this would validate my worth.
But if I fall short from achieving all those overwhelming task, the weight of disappointment it would bring was just too much and often leading me to self criticism. Being trapped in that cycle was not only making me so unhappy but it was also keeping me from growth and potential.
The more I burdened myself with all these unnecessary and excessive tasks, the less time I had to reflect, recharge, and truly understand my own needs and capabilities.
It’s important to remember that setting healthy boundaries is not about being unkind or shutting other people entirely. It is about understanding your limits, respecting your own needs and ensuring that you maintain a healthy and balanced life. Clearly defining what I can and cannot do, allowed me the space and time to take care of myself and engage in activities that nourished my soul and helped me grow.
So, if you ever find yourself trapped in overcommitment and you feel too guilty to say no, remember that boundaries are essential for our personal growth, happiness, and fulfilment. Give yourself the space to breathe, and to prioritize your well-being.
It’s important to remember that learning how to stop beating yourself up is a continuous journey. It’s not something that we can just learn overnight since this habit has already been so ingrained in us for years, it’s going to take some time and effort, so please be patient with yourself.
Please know that the steps I’ve mentioned above are not strict guidelines, they are just the steps that helped me on my personal journey. Please don’t hesitate to use only what resonates with you.
Before I end this post, I want you to know that this journey is not going to be straightforward. There were days when I felt so confident and full of self love but there were also so many days where I felt like my old habits of self criticism were creeping back in. If you find yourself feeling this way too, please don’t be hard on yourself.
Remind yourself that these “off days” are just part of the journey. The important thing is to keep going. You can do this. I’m always rooting for you!