You learn from a young age that you can be your own worst critic. “Give yourself a break,” “Cut yourself some slack”–these phrases are not new to us, and with demands that seem to be incessantly increasing in all parts of our lives, being nice to yourself can be hard. Here are 5 things you might not realize you’re doing that are signs you’re being too hard on yourself.
1. You tell yourself you’re never doing enough.
You got the job, you got the education you wanted, you even moved to that city you alway wanted to live in. You try to get the most amount of work done in the smallest amount of time. Yet, you still tell yourself that none of it’s enough. If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve told yourself this at one point in time. We’re all guilty of doing this from time to time, but for some of us, telling ourselves this motivates us, and for others it can lead to our detriment. Regardless, it can be a problem if this becomes our life mantra. We live in a society where productivity and efficiency are held in high regard, and ideals like simplicity, ease, and self-paced work are trivialized and dismissed.
2. You feel bad for telling others “No.”
Your friends describe you as easy and agreeable. You’re known for being the one who’ll say “Yes.” And this doesn’t bother you too much. You certainly don’t want to be the one who makes things hard. You find yourself walking away from something you agreed to and asking yourself “Why couldn’t I just say ‘no’?” Well, it’s easier to just say “Yes.” It is our natural tendency as humans to not only seek to avoid conflict, but to also seek to be agreeable and to be liked. This tendency can too often lead you to aim for the approval of others at the expense of your own desires.
3. You regret taking out time for yourself.
When you think about your weekends, you’d describe most of them as an extension of your week. More work, more work, and more work. When Friday rolls around, you’re certainly happy, but you know that once you’re back home it’s time to get started and to get things done. But this weekend it’s different. You decide to spend this weekend plopped on your futon, perched upon a pile of pillows and wrapped in all of your favorite blankets. You unpause the netflix queue and let your streaming dreams ensue. You stream, you enjoy good snacks, and you laugh. And in the end you absolutely regret it. After all, you could have been getting so much done.
4. You apologize for doing what you need to do for you.
You told your friend you would meet them for lunch on your lunch break. The two of you laughed and talked about how it had been so long since you’d gotten together and how this meeting would certainly be the beginning of many more. You told your co-worker you would have their report looked over before 5:00 PM. She asked you if you minded looking over her report. You said yes without hesitation. You planned and committed to doing all of these things-but now you can’t. You tell them all you’re ‘sorry,’ and you feel so bad doing it. Instead of focusing on an alternative or accepting that things can change and still be fine, you focus on the ways you believe you have failed a friend and worker.
5. You carry a burden because you have yet to forgive.
That person wronged you. They were bad to you, they stole from you, and they crushed your spirit. You haven’t forgiven them, and you’re filled with guilt and self-condemnation. Forgiveness is incredible, and when someone does something awful to you, forgiveness can be one of the most powerful ways for you to move towards healing. But forgiveness isn’t easy. And it most certainly isn’t a cognitive choice. Forgiveness takes time. It can take as long or as short of an amount of time as it needs to. Yet, you carry the burden of believing that you have to forgive and that you have to do it soon.