How to Stop Being Hard on Yourself

Do you ever feel like you are being too hard on yourself or criticizing yourself too much?

Many people have found themselves putting too much pressure and stress on ourselves which if not addressed, could lead to self-destructive habits. If you can relate to experiencing those feelings, here are some steps you can take to: stop being so hard on yourself, how to heal this inner critic that you might have inside, and how to let go of unnecessary pressure or expectation that you’re putting on yourself all the time. Breaking the habit of being hard on yourself can make it so you’re living your happiest and best life. 

Stop being hard on yourself

Working with Your Mind

Ask why

The first thing you can do is to journal this simple and straightforward question:

Why am I being so hard on myself?

Once you have written that down on paper, you can start to answer it. You will likely want to ask yourself this question several times as the answer isn’t going to come right away and there’s most likely many contributing factors as to why you’re being hard on yourself to begin with.

Usually your first answer is the actual answer at the surface level. And so you have to ask, why is that important? Why do I do that? From there, you can keep peeling back the layers. This is a good first step towards becoming aware of why you’re being hard on yourself. Why do you make life harder than it should be? Your goal is to try to uncover old beliefs or stories you have told yourself that are the foundation of how and why you are being hard on yourself.

If you dig deep enough, you may uncover underlying thoughts and beliefs that causes you to think this way:

  • “I’m not enough”.
  • “I’m not doing enough”.
  • I’m not good enough”.
  • “I’m not pretty enough”.
  • “I’m not _______ enough”.
  • …….

Fill in the blank with whatever you tend to tell yourself. These underlying beliefs are what causes us to be hard on ourselves. It ruins our confidence and it really puts us down and holds us back for no reason, because we are doing it to ourselves.

don't hard on yourself

As you continue to dig into the reason why you believe this belief, at the deepest levels, it has to do with your notions of love, worth, safety, and survival. So as you journal and as you dig deep, ask yourself, how is this related to my feelings or desires of love, worth, safety and survival? Don’t worry if you don’t have an “aha” moment after this journaling session, because you really are like an onion and you’re peeling back the layers one at a time. Don’t continue to be hard on yourself if the answers don’t come to you right away. Self care is a lifelong journey and it takes time to peel back these layers as you go through life. But the first very important step to change is awareness.

Use affirmative self-talk

Remember that the things you say about yourself, even when you don’t express them to someone else, make a difference in relation to your mental health and how you see yourself. Try using affirmative statements such as the following:

  • “I can get through this situation”.
  • “I am a good human being”.
  • “I love myself”.
  • “I have something to contribute”.
  • “My work matters”.

Practice meditation

Find a relaxing and relatively quiet room in your home. Locate a chair or a cushion so that you can sit down. Straighten your back, keep your chest open, and sit up straight. Think of a string tugging you upward from your spine’s base to your head. Recognize and focus on your breathing. Whenever you notice that your thoughts are straying, return your focus to each individual breath you take. You can become more attentive of your life and learn to listen to your own experience by meditating.

Putting Things in Perspective

Avoid dwelling on your mistakes

Avoid dwelling on your shortcomings or faults. It’s crucial to have compassion for and kindness toward yourself. Even if you might not be happy with how certain aspects of your life have turned out, you must move on with your future plans and objectives and take the lessons you’ve learned. If you find yourself ruminating on all of the mistakes you made in a failed romantic relationship, you may want to stop chewing over or repeating these mistakes in your mind. One method to become trapped is to keep thinking unfavorable things about oneself or a relationship. You could do better to focus on your current situation and future goals if you realize that you are not learning any fresh insights into why the relationship ended or about yourself if you continue to dwell on the past.

Talk to a friend or seek professional care

Talking to a friend about the issues you are facing and what is causing you to be hard on yourself may be helpful. They might be able to assist if you struggle to see things clearly. By disclosing your struggles, you can reduce the load. 

You could ask a friend to join you for coffee or a drink. Tell them about your difficulties and ask if they have any other suggestions. Perhaps they will be able to see the situation in a different light.

If you feel uncomfortable talking to a friend, you can try to seek professional help which can provide an unbiased opinion and listening ear. There are also numerous resources available to aid you in your journey to stop negative thoughts and start being kind to yourself.

Learning from Life Experiences

Review your list of things you are grateful for

You should periodically, ideally once a week, go over your positive things in your life. By engaging in this exercise, you will be able to shift your focus from self-criticism to appreciation, which is crucial for self-esteem and a good attitude on life. Gratitude practice offers numerous advantages for your mental health and can boost your sense of wellbeing. Consider how fortunate you are to have friends, rest, and delectable food in your life. It can even be things as simple as being grateful for the friends in your life, for a delicious meal you were able to enjoy, or about a good nights rest.

Focus on future goals

Permit yourself to put your past errors and failures behind you. Instead of dwelling on the past, direct your attention to your aspirations or goals for the future. Think of the relationships and professional advancements you want to attain in the upcoming year.

If you wish to change careers in the upcoming year, consider a doable objective that would enable you to begin this move, such as registering for an appropriate course or speaking with a friend who works in the industry. Write down a goal that will aid in your professional progress if you wish to advance in your field.

Accept compliments

Do you feel embarrassed to stop when you receive compliments from others, or even dismiss it and criticize yourself?

Instead of refusing compliments from people in your life, you should try to accept them. If someone gives you a compliment, try to smile and say “thank you”.  Try accepting a compliment with one of these phrases:

  • “Thanks so much, it means a lot to me”.
  • “That is so sweet of you. I really appreciate it and will also pass your compliment along to my colleague Jen, who helped me with the project”.
Stop being hard on yourself by learning from experience

However, you should avoid trying to give a better compliment to them. For example, avoid saying: “That’s nice of you but you put way more work into it than I did”.

Stop comparing yourself to others

Comparing oneself to others is one of the simplest ways to maintain our sense of insignificance. The problem is made worse by social media. If comparisons persist, jealousy, annoyance, and hopelessness appear. Chronic anxiety and sadness may result from such behavior if left untreated. People may search for others’ flaws to make themselves feel better in order to avoid comparisons. This is just as bad as ripping yourself apart over things you lack or the way you look. Focus on improving yourself and gaining more self-confidence to break the comparing habit. Try to discipline your thinking to avoid making unfair comparisons. Instead, make an effort to adopt kindness and a cheerful outlook. It’s hard work, but it pays off. 


Your goal is to learn to love yourself. Self-love is not a new thing. It’s a journey in transforming because you’re essentially releasing, peeling back and throwing away these old beliefs, these old layers of you that are not serving you anymore. It’s not serving you to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. It’s not serving you to have an inner critic. It’s not serving you to just be hard on yourself. Why be hard on yourself when life can be so hard already. Having true love for yourself is doing everything you can do to support yourself and allow yourself to thrive. Our goal is to thrive in life and shine as our best selves, because only then will you be able to feel confident and free. When you’re loving to yourself, you can be more loving to others and the world.