Having wasted enough time locked in my mind, berating myself for this, that and the other, I want to offer a bit of advice: Please stop being so hard on yourself! I mean, seriously, isn’t there enough criticism and judgment in society nowadays, without us turning the accusing spotlight on our own flaws?
I can admit, I’m naturally quite a sensitive person, so when I mess up, I’m aware that I seriously take it to heart. And unfortunately, for my poor heart, I mess up a whole lot. If you’re like me, you know it can take days, weeks or even, months to get over something regrettable. I beat myself to a pulp each time and I can assure you, it has never, ever helped. So (after years of this), it’s finally sinking in that perhaps it’d be a good idea to change the way I handle things.
I know it might feel natural some of the time, but ruminating on the what ifs and shoulda-coulda-wouldas is entirely a waste of energy. It literally drains you and drags you right down — but what else are you supposed to do?
Well, here are five ways to start to help you be just that little bit easier on yourself:
1. Let go
Leave the past where it belongs — in the past. How many times have we all heard that one? But, putting these well known nuggets of wisdom into practice is always a challenge before the change. It’s time to acknowledge that it happened, notice that it doesn’t feel great, throw it a million miles away from mind and move on.
This is where I struggle, because surely, my mistakes must all be punished? No! People don’t make mistakes intentionally — they’re not acts of malice, but unfortunate errors of judgment. Take responsibility, but then realize what your intent was and forgive yourself. Try to learn your lesson and apologize to others if they were involved. But, remember that you can’t change what happened — you can only make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Begin to work on trusting yourself. A lot of my self-criticism comes from a place of low self-esteem and high self-doubt. Trust and truly know who you are and what you value. When you know what you want, you’ll have the focus to stay on track and keep working toward your goal; there’s no place for rumination, as you know it won’t serve you. There must be a healthy dose of self-belief and reassurance because you trust in your capabilities and potential growth. And thus, you grow.
4. Do your best
Always do your best. Forget about trying to attain perfection and just do what you have the resources to achieve. Knowing that you’re doing your best will allow you to feel like you’ve done enough. If you need to fine-tune your methods, by all means do; however, keep the criticism at a constructive level and magnitude. Judge your actions with self love and keep your best interests in mind.
5. Give yourself credit
How often do you recall your wrongdoings? And, how often do you congratulate yourself on everything you’ve done correctly? Is there an imbalance present? Every single little victory at every size of success should necessitate at least twice as much of your thinking time as every mistake. I cannot stress enough the importance of giving yourself that pat on the back at the end of a hard day or an affirmation to yourself when it’s deserved. Focus on your successes and forget all about your perceived failures.
Ultimately, all you can do is continue to move forward. Choose the direction that’s paved with positive thoughts and follow it, turning a blind eye to any negativity. You deserve better — be the first to give it to yourself.