Why are you so hard on yourself?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Are you one of those people who are kind to everyone else but rarely to yourself?  Apparently, most of us are like this.  I know I am.  I will sit with others whilst they go through drama and trauma, but when I have my own to deal with, I tend to brush it under the carpet.

In a recent Psychologies Magazine ten question quiz, I wanted to find out what was standing in the way of my self-compassion. Turns out, and not really surprisingly, what is draining my self-compassion is self-doubt.

The questions asked what we do when things go wrong, what we feel are the benefits of self-compassion, what our most common cause of stress is, what we wished for more of, how we allowed self-compassion to show itself, when we needed support from a friend, what we think of self-compassion, when we feel happiest what how life would be easier if we were better at something.

For once, my results came out almost exclusively as one of the four possible responses, although there were a couple of questions where none of the answer options really fitted for me. The other reasons were self-pity, self-sabotage and self-neglect.  Reading through their descriptions, I found some elements that I also resonated with. The self-doubt summary was:

“You have an ambivalent view of self-kindness.  You know it’s a good thing and may encourage loved ones to be kinder to themselves, but you apply different rules to yourself.  At the heart of your resistance is a fear that being kind means accepting yourself as you are now. That self-acceptance is the foundation of self-compassion is a tricky concept for those who see themselves as a work in progress, but research shows that people who score highly in self-compassion have the greatest motivation for self-improvement.  It is a myth that being hard on yourself fosters drive.

When you hold back from loving and accepting yourself until you’re a ‘better’ person, you give yourself the message that you’re not enough. That undermining self-belief acts as a brake for even the most focused attempts to achieve.  If this is an old story don’t you owe it to yourself to try something new?  Talk to yourself as compassionately as you would a friend and shift your mental focus to spotlight the best in yourself and what is going well, then watch yourself flourish”.

I know that I have embarked on a bit of a mission of self-improvement but it doesn’t make me feel that I am not enough.  I am merely trying to recognise where I have room for development of self-awareness which actually includes learning more about my self-worth.  I don’t think it’s the same as thinking I’m not good enough. I am good enough and I am worthy, I just need to figure out how to show that.

I certainly don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself or play the victim, and I try not to get too close to those who wallow in their own pity party. 

I can self-sabotage at times.  I am aware of what I need to be doing to stay fit and healthy, to take on less and create space to breathe, but I do find myself saying yes to things even when they fill me with dread. 

I did resonate with the self-neglect description of assuming I’m ok when I’m not and having a default setting of self-reliance and self-sufficiency out of feeling there is no one to rely on. If I don’t let anyone get to close, I won’t get let down or hurt, therefore I won’t ask for help with perhaps I should.

Are you a pitier, doubter, sabotager or neglecter?


One thought on “Why are you so hard on yourself?

  1. Probably a bit of all of the above. The self love talk is difficult. I don’t know if I know anyone who can do it well without it appearing arrogant. Good luck 👍


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