We’ve all heard the saying before that “too hard” isn’t “hard enough” when you’re working toward a goal.
It’s the self-deprecating saying that has the tendency to rid us of all fault and responsibility, and though perhaps it’s meant to encourage a lax and calm aura, it could be just the one that’s robbing us of our own possibilities in life.
“You’re too hard on yourself.”
Clearly, this is more than just a saying. This is just the tip of the iceberg, just a hint at the entirety of the problem at hand. We hear this often, but too commonly, it’s untrue and unjust.
Sometimes, we are, in fact, too hard on ourselves — but why shouldn’t we be? Who else will take the responsibility or gain the self-awareness or take any of the steps necessary to make a change? Who will if not us?
We’re repeatedly told this lie, and often, when we’re getting close to that brink of self-realization that would otherwise lead to a life-changing epiphany, we’re assuaged by our peers — our hardened and honest feelings smothered by the cushioning fabric of hallow words.
So, why do we lie to each other? Why do we lie to ourselves?
Ultimately, it comes down to ignorance. We’re simply unaware of the damage we’re doing to our futures by being the opposite of hard on ourselves.
We go easy on ourselves, we allow ourselves to sleep the day away or lie on the couch, half-dead every waking moment we’re not in the office, struggling on with our nine-to-fives.
We don’t push ourselves. We skip the gym. We eat poorly. We allow ourselves to feel terrible on a daily basis.
We think negative thoughts; we treat others poorly; we break our word; we make up excuses; we don’t do what we really want to do because we’re too lazy and each time, when we get that feeling of guilt for all of the wrong we’ve done, we’re fed that destructive lie once more: “You’re too hard on yourself.”
If you’re not one of the lucky ones who has a determined parent, a loving companion or an inspiring mentor to push you and be hard on you, who will?
How will you ever reach your goals, change your life or create anything for yourself that’s any better than what you have right now if each time you fail to take action, you swiftly forgive yourself or allow others to convince you that you’re just being “too hard” on yourself?
I would argue just the opposite. Most people aren’t hard enough on themselves. This, I believe, is the main reason most people fail to achieve their dreams and goals. They’re simply too forgiving, too easy and too unwilling.
If you’re happy and content with your life, then being hard on yourself is fruitless. However, if you want more from your life, you’ll have to do a lot more, while doing less destructive and counterproductive activities.
You’ll have to maintain self-awareness to take action, and yes, you’ll have to be very hard on yourself. This means making promises to yourself and following through. This means creating your own rules and setting up some sort of discipline system that works for you.
Always remember, the work you fail to do today is the work you’ll have to do tomorrow.
Don’t let yourself off the hook so easily like so many of your peers do so often. Be hard on yourself, and later, you’ll be thankful for it.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It