Stop Being Too Hard on Yourself

August 11, 2015 Fay Agathangelou

Being too hard on yourself goes hand in hand with a low self-esteem. Learn to stop being too hard on yourself. Read this.

Stop being too hard on yourself because being too hard on yourself goes hand-in-hand with a low self-esteem. Signs of being too hard on yourself include excessive self-blame, self-criticism, negative self-judgement, self-punishment, and dwelling on your mistakes or flaws. Additionally, you may overlook or discount your positives. It is detrimental to your wellbeing and it’s important to stop it. Stop being too hard on yourself and build your self-esteem.

How to Stop Being Too Hard on Yourself

To stop being too hard on yourself, it’s important to be reasonable and treat yourself with respect. Empower yourself to make your life better rather than wasting your energy beating yourself up.

  • Have realistic expectations. Know that it’s okay to make mistakes because you’re human. Nobody’s perfect and life’s not perfect. You have to make mistakes to learn and grow, and life’s not always how you want it. Embrace your life’s journey and commit to learning and self-improvement. Focus your efforts on those things you can change.
  • Look for the lessons in everything. When something does go wrong, acknowledge the mistake, look for the lessons and stop beating yourself up over it. Some criticism can be justified at times, however, it’s important to keep it constructive and in perspective. Ask yourself what you’ve learned and what you can do differently next time. Think of stumbles as growth opportunities.
  • Challenge your negative inner critic. Your thoughts and words matter, and negative thoughts distort your reality. There’s nothing to be gained from criticizing yourself over and over again. Stop dwelling on your mistakes. It's a waste of energy, it’s disempowering and it will keep you stuck. Challenge the negativity and focus your energy on moving forwards.
  • Focus on the positives. There are always positives, however, you probably won’t see them when you’re too hard on yourself. You will have to make a conscious effort to see them. Ask yourself what you’ve done well, and the things that you like about yourself and your life. It might help to write them down, or use a journal.
  • Put things in perspective. Is your life or mistake really as catastrophic as you think, and will it matter in, say, 10 years from now? It can help to talk to someone you trust.
  • Use affirmations. For example “I am not perfect but I am learning and growing.” or “I did my best with what I knew at the time.”
  • Treat yourself as a best friend. Be kind to yourself and love yourself as an imperfect person. Give yourself permission to try things out, to make mistakes and to learn and grow. Nurture yourself as a person and see your overall worth.

Being too hard on yourself keeps you from moving forwards, however, you can learn to stop it. It will take perseverance and effort but it's well worth it. If you’re having trouble, or feeling persistently stuck, don’t be afraid to get the help you need. Stop being too hard on yourself, build self-esteem and create the life you want.

APA Reference
Agathangelou, F. (2015, August 11). Stop Being Too Hard on Yourself, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Fay Agathangelou

July, 4 2019 at 8:42 pm

do depressed people ever write these articles?

July, 16 2019 at 6:11 am

Hello, thank you for your comment. The writers here either have personal experience of mental health issues and/or have a background in mental health, so the aim is always to apply relevant and helpful insights to the subject matter.

October, 15 2021 at 5:50 pm

You got a point, they seem to come from from authors with no personal connection to depression and do not understand what it feels like to have depression. I have had years of therapy, groups, tried out all latest dads from mindfulness, meditation etc and been on hundreds of pills and lost count, changed my situation, had jobs, friends, courses all of these things at once and even had lots of hobbies. It got exhausting ! Yet I still could not shake the depression I felt or the emptiness I felt inside.

November, 15 2018 at 3:14 am

I've always been a people pleaser. I've also had an abusive childhood where I had to be hyper aware of my mom's volitial moods. I then lived my life for her, then for my husband. I was aonely and secluded child, and I'm a lonely secluded adult. Except now I've also had so much harsh criticism I feel utterly pointless. I used to get panic attacks, then that evolved into vestibular migraines that made me lose my job, and my husband was very harsh, calling me a burden. I'm trying to work again but I'm so afraid of myself. My brain is unreliable now, I can't learn quickly, and my social skills arre so akward. I want so badly to be cared for/understood/loved/ mom and husband mother me, boss me, disregard my opinions, and make me feel hopeless. I have no desires or dreams. My goals, I tried, failed, mainly because of health issues. I'm working retail now that was supposed to be part time,but isn' body and mind fail me when I'm overwhelmed. I wanted to get out of the house though. I wanted friends.
I keep saying the weirdest things then get nervous and words fail or I say something more stupid. I've been told I'm trying too hard.
I don't believe I can start a new life away from the people that "love" me but smother me and that I kind of hate...I just want to stop existing. My body hurts, my soul hurts, I'm almost 38 and have accomplished nothing. Nothing at all. I'm "nice" but I'm so tired of that being the only thing I'm so unsure. I feel like time has been wasted and now it's all too late. I just want to sleep and never wake up. I couldnt do it to my family but it's my only desire. Ending. I'm so tired of struggling.

The Anxious Dodo
April, 23 2019 at 1:19 am

hey, i am not old enough to know the things that you have been through, but i can relate so much to what you wrote. i felt the same way about myself for a long long time, until i decided i had to make some changes. first things first, you have to say it to yourself and believe that you're an amazing person and you are here on earth for a reason. you have a lot to offer to this world, so don't let all the crappy things get to you. and there's no shame in seeking professional help, so if you have the access to a therapist, go see one. I have a therapist now for two years, my anxiety and panic attacks have decreased substantially. it was very difficult, initially to make an effort to even visit her, but i forced myself, and it changed my life. yes, all the hopeless and anxious bits of me are still lurking around, but i know that they are not bigger than the person i am. all it took was one person to believe in me, and that was me. i had to bet on myself, and guess what, i'm a good bet. you need to start somewhere, so please do. things don't have to be this hard, for anybody. that means you too. believe it. and fight fiercely for yourself.

May, 6 2019 at 2:35 pm

Hey, thanks so much for your comment! It's great to hear how far you've come in your personal mental health journey. I too understand that building self-esteem and battling self-critical thoughts, hopelessness, and anxiety is a long, difficult process. The important thing is to recognise the progress you've made and to keep at it. Which it sounds like you're doing!

July, 13 2020 at 2:45 pm

I am really sorry that this is happening you, I hope that you get out of that dark place! :( Even though you have experienced these things in your life, just know that God loves you and that he can save you! Accept Jesus in your life and you will receive joy! He cares for you and wants to direct you to a life filled with his abundant love and to things greater than your personal goals! <3
I am sorry if my english is not perfect, english is not my native language :)

May, 19 2018 at 3:18 pm

I have extreme depression right now and I am bipolar. I am sooo tired of lapsing back into depression. It does not take much for me to return to that dark, ugly, cold, lonely place. I had a bright spot though, my job. I work with substance abuse patients and it is rewarding to see them get stronger and feel better. I know I am not responsible for their growth, but I try my hardest to help them relax and feel better about themselves. I think I am pretty good at it (atleast I have been told I am) but I recently had a situation where money came up missing from my drawer and I am clueless as to what happened. I did not take it, or I would not be upset and worried about it but it is still gone. Per policy, I was written up and I totally understand and accept that, however 2 other people handled the drawer after me so I don't know exactly what happened and it does not matter because I am the one in trouble, not them. I feel like a total failure right now. All my hard work has been flushed down the toilet and I look lie a thief I'm sure. I also feel soo stupid right now. If I could repay the money I would, but I really cannot afford it. I have spiraled deep, don't want to eat, exercise, or anything. I really feel like hurting myself physically, I'd rather have physical pain than mental. I told my friend he pretty much said mistakes happen, move on but I cannot, I never can. It takes me months to get over things, sometimes years. I will never get past this and I am torturing myself replaying the day over and over. I feel awful. How can I fix this...I think I'm going to quit. Finding another job may be easier than walking past everyone looking and feeling like idiot of the year. Whatever part of the brain that's responsible for forgiving yourself, is missing out of my head I never forgive myself for anything.

May, 22 2018 at 6:15 pm

Hi Brandy, It sounds like you are doing incredible work and helping so many people. They need and receive help from you so walking away may not be the answer. I do think you can talk to your supervisor and explain yourself and let them know that you did not do it and express how this makes you feel. It may be policy but it isn't fair and if you do a Pros and Cons to think about it differently you may see that quitting doesn't respect your efforts, but asking to talk to your supervisor may be more important. Please keep helping others and yourself, you are worth it! You also don't have to repay it since it's not your mistake and be kind to yourself. If it helps to email your supervisor first and maybe have a good friend or family member read over it too that may be a good step in forward. I hope this helps and let me know how it goes.
Take Good Care,

July, 14 2020 at 12:01 pm

I'm sorry that this is happening to you, I hope everything gets better! <3 Since you did not take the money it is not your fault that the money went missing, so just let it go and believe that God will fix everything for you! At times where I felt low, Jesus would always take away my burden and fill me with his abundant love! If you let him in your life, he will remove your depression and other negative feelings! Jesus truly is the truth, the way and the life, and is our saviour! <3
I am sorry if I have grammar errors, english is not my native language :)

January, 15 2018 at 3:40 am

I really appreciate how much you care, Emily!
I have read your answers and makes my heart warm. It is so good when one sees engagement.
I came to this site as I have issues with the same topic. This is something that I have a history with and no matter how many beautiful articles I read, only I can actually "do" the 'letgo'. I think its an inner expectation that I need to cancel; the only obstacle is - there are parts of this characteristic that I dont WANT TO let go, as I see it lead me to success. But as Adam said, it would be better to take every day as it comes... its just so attractive to me to tick a large to-do list all the way to the bottom. Just in the meanwhile, I have now developped several stress-related conditions. But! I think I know what I need to do, I just need to find my balance and LEARN to prioritize. Sadly, I cannot be everybody's darling, even though I would love to be.
Thank you for writing the article! <3

No one
November, 20 2017 at 7:08 pm

Tbh this doesn't help at all for individuals who are as bad as I am

November, 4 2017 at 5:38 pm

I am an introvert or I say I am an anti social type of person since childhood. I am happy to have music and book in my free time. I am facing a hard stage in my life working in a bank industry. I don't know how to face my adjustment stage I really felt so hard in everyday I go to work. I feel so weak and I try to reach out but I cannot easily express myself and words. I feel so shy and I want to disappear..How would I rebuild myself I feel like quiting my job. I dont know how to handle myself in a crowd of sociality or social gatherings. I grow up having half empty about myself due to my mom's death.How could I stand back up again. I believe I am being too hard in myself or am I in a depression stage?
Really need help. I really want to have change and be the best version of myself a year later in my new job.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Emily Roberts
November, 6 2017 at 8:04 am

Hi Lia, You are so brave for reaching out and I know you want a change. One of the things that helped me when I was in a state of depression and stuck in a job I was unhappy with was going to a meditation group near my house. Now, of course you don't have to do this, there are other ways, but the reason I bring this up is it was a big enough group of people that no one would notice if I left early (or got anxious and left) and small enough to where I could talk to a few people there. I would also look into some meetings or groups (like on or google in your area) for creative collaboration with other artists, group therapy for creatives or even online forums where you can connect with others. Also, your banking job isn't your whole life and the good news is it's giving you some structure, it wont be forever if you don't want it to be, but it can be an anchor in your day so you can put your energy into finding more fulfillment in other areas. I hope this is helpful, do let me know. Also we will be doing a Facebook LIVE this Wednesday 11/8 at 8 pm answering questions live and helping others connect and heal. Join us and I wlll be happy to answer this in more detail. Take Good Care @GuidanceGirl Em

August, 10 2017 at 3:34 pm

I've been really hard on myself for about 7 years (since I graduated). Expecting myself to be a multi skilled professional on a high salary. Now I realise I am and I do not like the situation I am in. Always wanting and expecting more of myself whilst my friends are enjoying life day-by-day. The best advice I have been given is to take each day as it comes and try to stop making big plans for the future. Now I want a career change but my plan for the day is to spend an hour exploring possible ways to do this then i'll try to stay in the present moment as much as possible.

June, 2 2016 at 8:03 pm

I have a friend who is being very hard on herself. What can I do or say to help her see her worth?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 10 2016 at 11:54 am

Maybe show her this or post on social media for her to see? You can be supportive too and show her how much you believe in her.

January, 13 2016 at 7:06 pm

I too suffer from bipolar depression and it us very hard because the depression is the base and always there. Even reading your article was very hard to read. Is it tgat life is this hard or tgat my depression makes it too hard?

August, 15 2015 at 7:43 pm

I suffer from depression and this is a hard thing for me to do.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 30 2015 at 10:24 pm

It's hard for all of us. Small steps in talking back to those negative thoughts can help. Let me know if you are able to challenge them just a little. It can be hard but I'm here to help!
Take Good Care,

Leave a reply