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‘I want to stop beating myself up’ – here’s how to do it

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Are you over-critical of yourself, and your own worse critic? Do you notice the mistakes you make more than your achievements? Are you beating yourself up and want to stop?

Join the club! This is something many, many people do. But that doesn’t mean it’s a trivial matter, or easy to get over.

You might be saying to yourself…

I can’t do anything right. Everything I do turns to s**t. What is wrong with me? Why am I such an idiot?

The thing is, this is a vicious cycle.

The more we beat ourselves up, the more hesitant we are when we do something, which means we don’t do it so well, and then…. [repeat]

When you look at it like that, it’s crazy, right?

Here are 6 things to do to stop this behavior:

  1. Accept mistakes are a part of life. When you were a baby, there were things you couldn’t do – walk, talk, long-multiplication. To learn these things, you made many, many mistakes. You learned from your mistakes. So when you fail now (and berate yourself for it), what’s different? Failure is a part of life, and a way of learning and developing. Sure, there is a cost to learning this way, but remember this is, perhaps, how we learned most of what we know.
  2. Treat yourself like you would treat others. When you give yourself a hard time, remember, would you treat somebody you love this way? The answer is most likely NO. So why are you treating yourself this way? If it was somebody else, as a friend you would make some allowances and offer support. Do this for yourself.
  3. Forgive yourself. You would probably forgive somebody else for a mistake when they take responsibility for it. So why not yourself? Take point (1) above – mistakes happen (or else insurance companies would be out of business) – so forgive yourself by accepting that the mistake was your responsibility.
  4. Ask yourself this: has beating yourself up ever made a positive difference? I can tell you it hasn’t. It will have had the opposite effect. So break the cycle.
  5. Look for the solution, not look at the impact of the problem. You can go around and around in circles when you focus on what’s gone wrong. This is a waste of time and energy. Instead, look for the solution. Again, break the cycle by a fix. The solution may be to stop doing what you did in the first place – and do something completely different.
  6. Ask yourself if you have really made a mistake, or are you just comparing yourself to others? Some people never make mistakes… yeah right! We can put other people on pedestals; consider them as heroes who never put a foot wrong. That just doesn’t happen. Perhaps other people hide it better; perhaps they make mistakes in places you just don’t see.
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This post is part 12 of 15 in the series Coping with Defeat

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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