If you criticize yourself for these 16 things, you’re way too hard on yourself

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If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly blasting yourself and the things you do. Sometimes it’s warranted; mostly, it isn’t. 

There are many behaviors we’re overly critical of. It doesn’t make our lives any easier, and we should stop with this often harmful practice, don’t you agree? 

I’ve listed 16 big and small such things. If you criticize yourself for these actions, you’re way too hard on yourself. 

1) Making mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s a natural part of learning and growing. Yet, most of us criticize ourselves for making them. And sometimes, other people criticize us as well.

For some, the burden of a past mistake keeps following them around because they keep thinking about it long after doing it. 

Letting go is one of the best things to do in that case. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and reframe these negative thoughts into positive ones.

2) Taking time to accomplish goals

Progress takes time, and it’s important to acknowledge that achieving goals is a process. Most of us have an image in our heads of the person we want to become. 

But did you know that the average time it takes Americans to reach a net worth of $1 million is approximately 28 years? Or that 61% of US millionaires are between 60 and 79 years old?

I’m not saying we should all strive to be rich. I’m just illustrating how long a process like that can be for most of us. 

Whatever your goal is, you already know achieving it takes a long time. As long as you’re working on it, you’re doing just fine. 

3) Feeling emotions

Emotions are a normal part of being human. It’s okay to feel a wide range of emotions, even negative ones.

We’re often faced with prejudices and societal pressures telling us that women are too emotional and men shouldn’t be emotional at all. 

How fair is that? Not at all, that’s how. 

If you sometimes feel the need to cry, then cry. If you need to shout at the top of your lungs. Do it!

Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. Least of all yourself. 

4) Asking for help

Asking others for help has never been my forte. For some reason, I like doing everything by myself. I guess I want to show others I’m extremely capable and don’t need help with anything. 

But I’ve realized that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It shows that you’re willing to learn and grow. It also connects you more to others.

Having recently moved to a different country whose language I don’t speak very well and not knowing many people there, I’ve had to meet new people very fast.

These folks were new to the country too, and we’ve come to rely on each other to help with anything from bureaucracy and moving furniture to socializing.   

5) Taking breaks

Being a freelancer is tough at times. But what I find to be the most challenging part is knowing when to take breaks and stop working. 

You can’t work around the clock, especially when you have a small kid. 

I’ve learned in recent years that rest and relaxation are essential for our well-being. Taking breaks doesn’t mean you’re lazy. You need to recharge so you can keep going.

Therefore, you shouldn’t criticize yourself for taking breaks. Life is short. Enjoy it while you can!

6) Prioritizing self-care

Self-care and self-compassion are things people don’t do as often as they should, and even when they do, they’re harsh on themselves, thinking it’s selfish. They believe they should work, be with their family, or whatever else instead. 

But self-care isn’t selfish. Taking care of yourself allows you to be more present and effective in other areas of your life. For instance, working out will help you lead a healthier and longer life

7) Not meeting societal expectations

Societal and peer pressure is one of the hardest things to “shake off.” Parents, friends, teachers, co-workers, and managers all have certain expectations of us. 

When we don’t meet societal expectations, they see us as some weirdos. And we might even question whether there’s something wrong with us.  

That’s why some people love big cities. Everyone’s minding their own business and isn’t asking you when you will get married, have kids, buy a house, buy a second car, move to the suburbs, have a second kid, etc. 

There are always more and more things people expect from us. 

However, you don’t have to conform to societal expectations or compare yourself to others. Your path is unique, and you define your own success.

8) Not being perfect

Perfection is an unrealistic standard. Embrace your imperfections and recognize that they contribute to your uniqueness and individuality.

It’s another societal expectation and pressure we’re supposed to conform to. 

9) Setting boundaries

Boundaries are necessary for maintaining healthy relationships and preserving your mental and emotional well-being.

It’s okay to say “no” when you’re unable or unwilling to do something or take on additional responsibilities. You have the right to prioritize your time and energy.

10) Changing your mind

Flip-flopping and changing your mind should be normalized. Too many people stick to their guns even after they learn or realize they’re wrong. They don’t want to be embarrassed and admit they were mistaken or had different ideas in the past.

It’s more than natural to gain new insights or perspectives that lead to changing your mind. It’s a sign of growth and adaptability, not weakness. 

11) Not knowing everything

Not being perfect, changing your mind, and not knowing everything are all connected. It’s impossible to know everything all the time, and that’s okay. 

Embrace the opportunity to learn and expand your knowledge. Have a hunger to discover new possibilities and new perspectives. 

Don’t stay in your own little bubble where others automatically confirm every thought. 

12) Making decisions that don’t work out

I’ve had many projects and decisions that didn’t flesh out in the end. I like to try new things and find out whether I like doing them or not. 

Sometimes decisions don’t yield the desired and expected results. I’ve come to learn and expect that. I don’t waste months or years of my life on something I’m not 100% into.  

I look at everything as an opportunity to learn and make better choices in the future.

13) Having setbacks

The same goes for setbacks. They’re part of life’s journey. They provide valuable lessons and opportunities for growth.

Setbacks can take many forms, such as personal or professional failures, unexpected obstacles, or unanticipated challenges. 

While setbacks can be painful and frustrating, they also offer unique opportunities for growth, resilience, and self-discovery.

Experiencing setbacks ourselves makes us more understanding and empathetic toward others facing similar challenges. 

It deepens our ability to relate to others, offer support, and provide valuable insights based on our own experiences.

I try to share stories of my setbacks and how I overcame them. I think they can inspire and uplift others who may be going through similar struggles.

14) Taking time for personal interests

Since my son was born almost 4 years ago, I’ve had almost no time for any hobbies or interests outside work. I also have a dadbod. 

I felt so guilty taking time for myself that I almost never did. Needless to say, both my physical and mental health were on the decline. 

Only recently have I started pursuing hobbies and interests again. I find them extremely important for personal fulfillment and happiness. 

The same goes for my wife, of course. We encourage each other to take breaks and do things outside of our little bubble.  

15) Expressing your needs

Some people keep everything bottled up. When they’re unsatisfied with something at work, they keep quiet. When their partner does something they don’t like or approve of, they’re also shush. 

How are people supposed to know that something irks you? How should they change their behavior for the better if they don’t know what they’re doing isn’t right? 

Communicating your needs and desires is essential for healthy relationships and personal growth. 

Speak up. Be respectful. Never go full Karen. 

16) Celebrating small victories

Recognizing and celebrating small achievements is fundamental for maintaining motivation and a positive mindset.

Whenever we have personal or business success, we celebrate it with our closest friends. 

Sometimes it’s just a night out, other times, it’s a small get-together or a party. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, and it isn’t. 

The point is – celebrate your triumphs. Even the small ones. Keep a bottle of champagne chilled so you can crack it open anytime!

Final thoughts

We’re all way too harsh on ourselves. Whether taking regular breaks, relaxing, not knowing everything, or feeling emotions. 

Be more gentle and caring toward yourself. You only have one life. Don’t spend it being miserable. 


Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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