Why You're So Incredibly Hard On Yourself (And How To Be A Little Kinder)

You may be surprised at the real reason you're hard on yourself!

Why You're So Incredibly Hard On Yourself Spectral Design/Shutter Stock

Let me get straight to it. You are hard on yourself because you are trying to fit the mold someone else has shaped for you. And when that doesn't work, you try to morph into the shape of the next person. But it doesn't seem like that what you’re doing, does it?

Consciously, you aren't saying to yourself: "I am going to do this perfectly so my dad will see me" or "If I get really good at this, maybe then I’ll be accepted."


But, subconsciously, you are. 

You are hard on yourself because you are trying so hard to be good enough. To be accepted, invited, wanted, and loved.

The harder you push yourself, the better you’ll be, right? The more you yell at and berate yourself, the more effective you’ll be at getting things done perfectly, yes?

Well, not exactly. So, what can you do to learn how to not be so hard on yourself?

Tell ya what. Capture that voice in your head that is hard on you. Write down what it says so you can repeat it out loud, word for word. Got it? Great.


Now keep that with you at all times. What I want you to do, is the next time you have a conversation with someone and they mention not getting something done to spec, pull out your script. I want you to holler and berate them using the same dialogue and tone that you use on yourself.

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Lemme guess what you’re saying: "Yeah, right. There is no way I would talk to someone like that. Are you crazy, do you want me to have any friends or lose my job?"

Ok. So let me get this straight. Your dialogue is good enough for you, but no one else? Why is that? People only do things that work. If you’re still using it on you, then it must be working.


And if it benefits you so much, wouldn't you want to help others benefit too?

I don’t know about you, but I hate seeing people suffer. If I have something that works well, I love to share it. "But," you say. "It doesn't benefit me or I would share it."

Let’s unpack that a minute. You do like to share things that work. And what you’re doing isn't working. But, you continue to use it on yourself.

So, do you put yourself in a corner too, for a timeout? Do you count to 5 to yourself when you need a behavior adjustment, or do you just get right down to business and scream and holler and call yourself names?



Let me scratch my head a minute. So, what you’re saying is, if you drink the poison, only you die, not the other person?

What’s the matter with this world? Here’s the thing.

You’re so incredibly hard on yourself because you don’t accept you for you. Somewhere along the line growing up, someone needed you to be different than who you were in order to feel loved.

It is also possible you were yelled at or some other form of punishment trying to get you to ‘get it right’. So, you tried and tried, and finally got the encouragement you were seeking. And because you were told so often and in so many ways (some unintentionally) that you weren't enough all on your own, you had to beat yourself into submission.


Even if some of these people are dead, they are still ruling you. What you've got to start doing is to speak kindly to yourself. It sounds so...lame...to think about talking to ourselves more ‘kindly’ doesn't it? You're tough. You’ve hustled and got sh*t done! What if you talk nice and become weak and insignificant?

You won’t! How do I know? Because living a life not accepting yourself and striving to find that acceptance through others, is the definition of weak and insignificant. (Psst, you’re not alone!)

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Changing your inner dialogue to be more accepting and kind, loving and nurturing, is the only way you will find the significance you are seeking. As long as you feel small, and that unconscious voice is nattering away in the background, nothing will change.


So, sure, if you’re happy being so incredibly hard on yourself, then have at ‘er.

Otherwise, be kind to yourself and show yourself some love, and with that love comes incredible freedom, peace, and mojo.

Yeah, mojo. Do you want to rock your thing? Grow some mojo. Confidence is beautiful. And so are you.


I want you to do something, OK? Literally (for real this time) write down the dialogue that runs in a loop in your mind. If you think about it, it’s like a record from back in the day, with the grooves. No matter who’s machine you put the record on, it still plays the same, because the grooves are fixed in.

Your dialogue is the same. The only way to erase the song on the record is to scratch the grooves. So go ahead now and scratch the grooves. Look at what you have written. Repeat it out loud exactly as you hear it internally. Say it to your dog or a stuffed plushie. Or look out the window and imagine yelling it to someone walking by.

Then, do it again but changing your tone. This time say it in a mellow, relaxed tone. Notice the effects on your body and how things change.


Now go ahead and say these things in a super seductive voice. Look in the mirror and seduce yourself into submission. If it sounds ridiculous, it is! And doing it will make you laugh and laughter changes the grooves! You will also hear with intention how it sounds and hearing the ridiculousness of it also changes the grooves.

This exercise will change the whole framework of how you see or hear that nonsense that’s been sucking you in.

Play with it. Have fun. Giggle a bit. After all, it really is funny, right?

Let me know about your experience. I always like a good laugh!

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Suzanne Jones is a pre-adoption coach working in a one-person pre-adoption firm helping couples learn how to parent the adopted child so they can have an amazing relationship. You can contact her here to work with her.