18 Signs You’re Being Too Hard On Yourself

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The phrase ‘do your best’ is something you are likely to hear a lot when growing up.

Later on in life, if you ever find yourself in the self help aisle of your local bookstore, you will no doubt be offered similar advice in the form of ‘be the best version of yourself’ or something along those lines.

It is perhaps not so surprising, then, that many of us come to struggle with a serious case of being too hard on ourselves.

We are so quick to lay the blame at our own doorsteps, that we form a tangible, self-perpetuating feeling of disappointment and dissatisfaction.

In our eyes, we are always found wanting; we could always have done better.

We will always fail to live up to our own unrealistically high expectations.

If you are keen to know whether you fall into this particular trap, ask yourself how many of the following signs you observe in your life.

Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you stop being so hard on yourself. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.

18 Signs You’re Too Hard On Yourself

1. You Strive For Perfection

Perhaps it is the natural evolution of the ‘do your best’ advice from childhood, but you aim to be as near to perfect as you can.

You find it hard to tolerate your shortcomings and, instead, fixate on eradicating all of your flaws.

What’s more, things have to be done a certain way – your way.

When others are involved, you try to enforce particular rules so that they behave to your standards and things are to your liking.

2. Your Focus Is Biased Towards Your Failures Rather Than Successes

You are very quick to identify ways in which you have come up short, but are often unable to celebrate when things go well.

This is because your mind is internally predisposed to look for ways you could have done something differently that might have resulted in a better outcome.

When you do have successes, you either play them down or deny them altogether.

3. You Dwell On Mistakes

Not only do you look towards your failings at every opportunity, you spend countless hours thinking about things you deem to be mistakes.

Whether it’s something you said during a conversation, the way you acted in a given situation, or a choice you made, if you believe it was a mistake, you will go over it in your head again and again…

…sometimes for hours, sometimes for days.

4. You Seek To Learn Instant Lessons From Mistakes

One of the primary reasons why you are prone to dwelling on your mistakes is because you believe there is a lesson to be learned in each one.

You are so concerned with working out what that lesson is that you neglect to consider the possibility that either there isn’t one, or that you aren’t yet in a position to learn it.

You are impatient to discover any potential teachings, so you ruminate on the mistake in an attempt to force it to reveal itself.

5. You See Things As Black Or White

With you, things are either good or bad, success or failure, right or wrong; there is no in-between.

You struggle to comprehend the subtle variations that span the gaps – the many shades of gray that exist between black and white.

This makes you quick to berate yourself when things haven’t gone completely to plan, even if they worked out ok in the end.

It’s a disaster if you’re 5 minutes late for something.

The meal is ruined if you put a little too much salt in it.

You’re hopeless at your job if you didn’t get the highest possible ratings in your yearly appraisal.

These are the types of thoughts that go around in your head.

6. You’re Impatient For Success

Because, for you, there is no halfway point between success and failure, you are in a constant state of anxiety for as long as your vision of success eludes you.

Even if you are making good progress from an outsider’s perspective, you remain unhappy until you reach a specific goal.

You are discontent with anything less than the perfection you aim for, and this means you are constantly seeking ways to speed up the process of attaining it.

This makes you susceptible to the lure of a shortcut, a cheat, a quick fix – anything to get to where you want to be.

7. You Fear Failure

Your impatience for success is driven by your abject fear of failure.

You try so hard to reach the high targets you set for yourself because you can’t stand the idea of letting people down.

You believe that anything less than exemplary is a stain on your character and that people will think less of you because of it.

8. You Are Paranoid About What Others Think Of You

You can’t abide the idea that other people might not like, respect, or appreciate you, so you try ever harder to please them.

You push yourself beyond your limits in order to avoid the scorn that might come should you make a mistake.

You fear your boss and superiors at work, convincing yourself that they are unhappy with your performance and that your job is at risk.

You believe that your friends secretly mock your achievements and that your family are disappointed in your status in life.

9. You Freak Out When Someone Criticizes You

You absolutely loathe it when criticism is aimed in your direction.

You take it so deep within your heart that it breaks your spirits and sends you into a dark spiral.

It doesn’t matter how flippant the comment is, how insignificant the other person might imagine it, or how constructive they wanted it to be, when someone suggests you could do better, a feeling of worthlessness erupts inside you.

10. Yet You Are Highly Critical Of Yourself

As hard as you find it to take criticism from others, you are quick to point out all of the flaws you see in yourself.

You regularly highlight your weakness, both to other people and inside your mind because you genuinely believe that all these bad points exist.

And it doesn’t matter how many people tell you otherwise, once you become convinced of a shortcoming, it stays with you for a very long time.

11. You Look At Others With Envy

You are so harsh on yourself, so utterly convinced by your own self-diagnosed failings, that you cannot help but view others with envy.

You are more likely to ignore their shortcomings, seeing them as nothing more than minor blemishes in an otherwise perfect life.

You wish you could enjoy the same level of happiness, freedom, and material wealth that they have, regardless of what troubles they may be facing that you don’t know of.

12. You define yourself by your shortcomings.

When you think about yourself, who you are, and how you fit into the world, you only see the negatives. You aren’t good at something, you aren’t attractive, you aren’t popular. You are a mess, you are a lousy partner, you are stupid.

You can only see your flaws and are blind to anything that others might consider good or virtuous in you.

When you compare yourself to other people, you always come up short.

13. You can’t take compliments or praise.

Since you are unable to see much in the way of good things about yourself, you refuse to accept compliments or praise from others.

You performed really well on a work task? Oh, that was your colleague, you didn’t really contribute. Got a new outfit that someone else likes? Oh, well it’d look good on them, but you look fat in it.

Whenever anything nice is said about you, you bat it away as being untrue and talk yourself down instead.

14. You blame yourself even when someone else is at fault.

People make mistakes. People also do things that are either inconsiderate or downright malicious. But you don’t see things as their fault—you see it as your fault.

Did a friend arrive late to your dinner catch-up? It’s your fault for suggesting that time. Did someone at work drop the ball and cause a problem? It wasn’t them, it was you, even if you had very little involvement.

You see yourself as the culpable party in most situations, regardless of where the true responsibility lies.

15. You see others as human but expect yourself to be superhuman.

When another person makes a mistake, you view it as just that: a mistake. They are human after all.

But you don’t extend that same courtesy to yourself. You aren’t allowed to make mistakes because you need to be perfect. So when you inevitably do make a mistake, you come down on yourself like a ton of bricks.

16. You devalue your own ideas or opinions.

What you think about something doesn’t really matter. And if you have an idea, you rarely ever voice it because, well, it’s silly really.

You don’t see the value you bring to the table in terms of your voice, your thoughts, or your potential contributions.

You truly believe that other people know best, or that they deserve to get their way and you will just have to accept their decision.

17. You always go above and beyond what is asked of you.

It doesn’t matter if it takes all your free time, you will do more than another person asks you to do.

You will run yourself into the ground to help others out or take on more than your fair share of responsibility because maybe then others will think well of you.

Not to mention the fact that your time isn’t worth much and other people deserve your help.

18. You rarely treat yourself.

Most people like to buy themselves a little something or do something nice just for them from time to time. But not you, oh no.

You don’t believe you deserve a treat. You don’t think you have earned that kind of luxury. And so you neglect yourself.

What’s more, if someone gifts you something or does something nice for you, you feel embarrassed and like you now owe them something in return.

Ready to accept that you’re too hard on yourself, but not sure what to do about it? Talking to someone can really help you to handle whatever life throws at you. It’s a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.

Speak to a therapist about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to identify why you think and act this way while providing tailored advice to help you change your mindset.

BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.

While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.

You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.