Scottsdale Acupuncture


Stop Being So Hard On Yourself!

Posted Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 by

healing, stop being hard

Do you have a tendency to be very hard on yourself? Was someone hard on you at some point in your life? Are the thoughts you have throughout the day critical of your own actions? Do you find it difficult to be kind to yourself?

Many people are very hard on themselves–having high expectations that can lead to self-inflicted criticism and suffering. Acceptance and love of oneself can help alleviate these issues and help people become kind and supportive toward themselves.

At Above & Beyond Acupuncture we work with patients going through a variety of life challenges. One of the more common behaviors that people struggle with is self-criticism. Since this is an issue frequently addressed at our clinic, we want to take some time to write about this topic and share some helpful information.

Why am I so hard on myself?

Just taking a moment to contemplate this question will likely provide some valuable insight as to why some people treat themselves the way they do. Another benefit to asking this question is that it forces a person into the present moment. One of the biggest problems people face when being hard on themselves is that they are not being present; many of the things they are focused on happened in the past. Realizing this (and correcting it) can provide some immediate and significant relief from the self-inflicted criticism. In a previous blog post titled “The Power Of Being Present,” we discussed what it means to be present and provided some helpful tools. If you get a moment, please read though that blog post.

There are many reasons why people become overly hard on themselves. But regardless of the reason(s), the fact remains that being hard on oneself can lead to internal strife and conflict.

One of the more common reasons people give is that early in life a parent, family member, teacher, friend or neighbor was very hard on them. Whether the focus was academic or behavioral, the criticism was relentless, pushing the target of the criticism well beyond his or her comfort zone. The interesting thing to note is that this behavior becomes ingrained and will become “normal” long after the offender has left. In a sense, the original target oftentimes “takes over”—becoming the parent, teacher, friend or neighbor.

Another common reason people are hard on themselves is because of their own high, or unreasonable, expectations and goals. Life in the 21st century is filled with a variety of different ideals, motivators and desires. Financial success and material acquisition are two things many people value; they will invest a great amount of time and energy toward achieving these goals. It is when this quest becomes all-consuming—even obsessive—that it can create problems. When a person falls short of his goal(s) and is unable to achieve the level of success he expects of himself, he is apt to become very self-critical.

So what can I do to stop being so hard on myself?

If you’re ready to stop being hard on yourself, you should be prepared to answer the following question: “Would I allow someone in my life to treat me the same way I’m treating myself?” The obvious answer is no; most people would not tolerate it. So then why do you find it acceptable to be hard on yourself when you wouldn’t condone that behavior from other people? If you are one of the many people who struggle with this issue, then we implore you to take the time to ask yourself these questions and think about your response(s). You should treat yourself with the same level of respect and support as you expect from the people in your life.

Self-acceptance, self-love and self-kindness are effective tools that can be used to help people who have a tendency toward self-criticism. While it might be difficult at first to truly accept who you are—to love yourself and to be kind to yourself—it is important that you try. Like any new exercise, it can be challenging at first. It might even seem impossible, but if you are persistent, it will pay off.

If you, or someone you know, struggles with self-criticism, then we suggest spending some time reading (and re-reading) this blog post, as it will shed light on an issue that many people struggle with on a daily basis. Now is the time to stop being so hard on yourself. Be kind, loving, supportive and accepting of who you are!

Above & Beyond Acupuncture serves the Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa and Glendale areas. Please give us a call or use the online scheduler to book your appointment today.