being hard on yourself


What can you possibly gain by being hard on yourself? I have been there. I am a victim, and I tell you it’s not a good place to be.

At a much younger age, I was fastidious, full of high expectations of myself and my abilities. I had this crazy notion that we make mistakes because we are lacking; lacking in knowledge or aptness. I always felt that if I knew better, I would do better.

But the problem was; why didn’t I know better? Why did I allow myself to be lacking?Why didn’t I pay closer attention? Why didn’t I crosscheck? 

Blah blah blah, and each time I made a mistake I beat myself down ever so hard because I expected more of myself. But I was wrong to treat myself in such a harsh manner deprived of consideration and compassion.  Nonetheless, this is what I learnt been the specimen on my own dissecting table.

But before then;

In her book Edge States, Joan Halifax explains that the willingness to endure discomfort and capitalize on challenge is a trademark among successful, fulfilled individuals.

But what really differentiates them from the rest is not only their ability to learn from their life experiences, but the depth at which they feel them in the first place. Don’t be hard on yourself.

Being hard on yourself makes you feel terrible.

When we experience sadness, there is a decrease in the secretion of the happy hormone- Serotonin. This makes the brain emits negative signals to the central nervous system diminishing our mood.

When an incident occurs which falls below our expectations, we begin to analyse the possible oversights that led to that incidence. This action puts us on a threshing floor exposing us to flashbacks, harsh words, and regrets from ourselves. Making us feel terrible and guilty about something we think we have control over, which in most cases we don’t.

The continuous repetition of your mistakes only deepens their memory in your minds making you susceptible to lower self-esteem and moodiness.

Being hard on yourself puts you in a dampened mood most of the time because you can’t seem to rectify the issue and make amends as quickly as you thought. When you become hard on yourself, you open your doors to welcome constant moodiness and self-damage. You might be asking; why am I so hard on myself? The answer lies in identifying the causes and eliminating them. Been too hard on yourself is damaging to your mental, emotional and physical states.

Being hard on yourself makes you doubt your capability.

When you are hard on yourself you give room to make light of your capability, belittling your sense of ability.

Being hard on yourself makes you withdraw from social participation and social interaction, invariably affecting your social life and relationships with others.

If you want to be hard on something- be hard on the problem and not on yourself.


Say Sam studies tirelessly for her examinations, waking up at midnight to study hard because she wants an A in geography. After the results are released, Sam discovered she got a C. She is frustrated and angry at herself. She thinks she should have studied harder, perhaps all through the night.

Sam is likely to be moody for as long as she interprets this incident to be wholly her fault and her lacking. Sam may begin to doubt her intelligence and academic prowess causing her to sink deeper into her misery, dampening her mood and distorting her performance in extracurricular activities. She is also likely to perform poorer in her subsequent examinations if she keeps up her attitude.

You could push yourself further without condemning yourself and belittling yourself. You are all you got; take care of yourself with kindness and love.

Your emotional stress begins to manifest itself as physical symptoms.

When your inner critic makes you experience continuous mental and emotional stress, over time it may begin to translate as physical symptoms affecting different parts of your body and their functions.

A study presented at the 2014 American Academy of Neurology found that the more stress you’re under, the more headaches you’re likely to get. Sandler also said that having high-stress levels may weaken your immune system and cause you to get sick more frequently. Don’t be so hard on yourself because the action is destructive in itself.

being hard on yourself

Being hard on yourself makes you vulnerable to a break-down.

You sleep less and get exhausted easily.

When you try to live up to expectations, be it your own or someone else’s, you get exhausted. Exhaustion is continuous tiredness to perform any activity or task.

Being too hard on yourself causes you to feel tired throughout the day making it difficult to fall into a deep sleep at night. Being too hard on yourself can have the opposite impact on your sleep cycle, too.

If your mind is involved in a constant loop of negative self-talk and worry, sleep might not come easy or at all. The lack of sleep at night will lead to tiredness and nonproductive in the daytime creating a cycle of exhaustion.

You constantly feel tensed and on-edge.

When you are too hard on yourself you become tensed and unable to focus, NYC-based neuropsychologist and teaching faculty at Columbia University, Dr Sanam Hafeez.

Being hard on yourself causes you to walk and talk quickly with energy rooted in fear, and you begin to feel like you’ll miss out on something if you don’t meet your expectations quickly enough.

You are continuously on-edge, and any little things piss you off. You become vulnerable to negative energy and negative behaviours that affect your general well-being. Don’t be hard on yourself.

You increase your chances of depression an anxiety.

Studies have revealed strong correlations between negative self-talk and psychopathologies such as depression, social and performance anxiety. Being hard on yourself enforces the deadly depression and anxiety. This happens because you begin to feel incapable and become mistake-prone.

Depression as we all know isn’t a screaming illness like kwashiorkor. You could be on your way to depression and not even know. Being hard on yourself is an unfortunate silent enhancer of anxiety.

When you blame yourself for this and you chastise yourself for that. You dwell on the past and beat yourselves up with worry. You begin to fear bad things might happen in the future because you think you are not good enough to handle this or that.

Being hard on yourself makes you feel constant apprehension without a trace of substantial reason.

The harmful effects of being too hard on yourself are too damaging to risk. The best thing to do is to devise ways to limit or cancel this terrible behaviour that only damages you further. You need stop being hard on yourself to prevent these sighs from manifesting in you.

being hard on yourself

How I overcame this syndrome and how you can.

At some point, I discovered that being hard on myself never solved the problem, it only made me feel downcast and unhappy affecting my everyday activities. I resolved to put an end to this terrible behavior. How did I do it? I share with you steps on how to stop being so hard on yourself.

STEP 1 : Know that being hard on yourself doesn’t solve the problem.

Woman, have an understanding that being unreasonably hard on yourself will not solve the issue, if it did it would have by now. Etch this on your mind and palm so you always remember.

STEP 2: Have a sufficient sense of self awareness.

Reading Oprah Winfred’s book- “What I know for sure”

She mentions how numerous individuals and organizations were consisting willing her to make huge donations to their organizations. After she declined some, she was back-lashed by naysayers about her unwillingness to continuously donate huge funds. She noted that she knew she was a generous person, so that’s all that mattered regardless of whatever was said.

I want you to apply this lesson to your life, know who you are, know what you can do and believe it beyond failed expectations.

When your expectations get cut off, know you’re still capable. Believe it! Do not base your capability on how things turn out. If things go sideways, fine, but do not lose yourself. You remain capable. Imbibe this capable mindset and watch how you bounce back from setbacks.

Refuse to accept your inner critic’s constant condemnation of “you are not good enough” because you are good enough.

Becoming sufficiently aware of yourself decreases the chances of you being hard on yourself.

Your behaviour becomes more like “I did my best, I will try again next time”.

STEP 3: Listen to success stories.

In my period of overcoming this damaging behaviour, I spoke to someone who was way ahead of me in life and achievements. She shared with me her struggles and how she had to press on through tough times to get to where she was today. She shared her failures, her disappointments, and her growth.

This opened my eyes to an understanding that even successful people have had their share of failed expectations and disappointment. However, what differentiates them is their ability to move on and not dwell on it.

By listening to success stories you connect with people like yourself who encountered several challenges but did not allow being too hard on themselves to destroy them. You get to share in the knowledge they possess on handling such situations.

Listening to success stories opens up your mind to larger possibilities and growth.

Remember, how to not be so hard on yourself involves constant reevaluation of the specific behaviors causing it.

STEP 4: Do not care so much.

Yes, when you care extremely about your expectations it directly influences your reaction to a similar degree.

Don’t care too much about failure. Know how to brush it aside.

Don’t care too much about your ideal expectations and mostly about other people’s expectations.

Don’t care too much.

STEP 5: Try again or let it be.

How to become less hard on yourself, give it another shot after reviewing your previous performance and, identifying ways to improve.

In cases where you seem overwhelmed put the matter aside for a while, until you are ready to handle a re-fire. 

Other ways to help you overcome being hard on yourself include:

Apply the kindness rule- To thy own self, be kind.

Forgive yourself woman.

Desist comparison.

Recount your wins.

Remember you are not perfect.

Talk it out with someone.

being hard on yourself
Until next time.

Being hard on yourself can be damaging your mental, emotional, psychological and physical state, putting you in an unhealthy situation that only causes more damage.

Learn to know when to draw the line on correcting yourself.

Learn to know when to draw the line between putting pressure on yourself or over-tasking yourself.

Know when to stop and take a break.

You are only as good as your health, when your health is affected, you are alongside affected.

I want you in your best state at all times, so you must put an end to this damaging behaviour of “being hard on yourself”.

If you are still suffering from the effect of “being too hard on yourself” or you find it difficult to desist from this harmful behaviour, it is advisable you seek professional help.

Be kind to yourself, and smart about the problem.

I want you relaxed, woman.


being hard on yourself

Want to stay connected? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to connect with the community of like-minded women like yourself and get first hand information when we post. Follow us on pinterest here.

We love to connect with you

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter below and never miss the latest stories, updates and  exclusive offers.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Effective and Actionable Strategies, Resources and Tools to improve your life,


Enjoy this blog? Please share :)