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How to stop being so hard on yourself...

Hi! I'm so glad you're here! First, you are not the only one! I see this all the time when I work with people in my private practice. I hear people being really hard on themselves, probably without even realizing it. Read on to learn how to stop this bad habit.

It comes up a lot! It’s that negative self-talk – I should be doing more, I could have done it better, it's not ok to make a mistake, it’s not good enough, or even…I’m not good enough, I’m not a good person, friend, girlfriend… and on it goes.

When I hear someone say these kind of things, I ask her if she would say the same thing to a friend if her friend was in the same situation she is in. Would you tell your friend she should be doing more, she could have done it a better way, it’s not ok for her to make a mistake, she’s not good enough or not a good person?

Every time the reaction is – NO! I would never say that to my friend.

I ask: Why not? Well, because it’s mean. So there’s a double standard – one for you and one for other people. You typically wouldn’t say what you say to yourself to others because it’s harsh, mean, and maybe even cruel. But you’ve been saying these things to yourself – for quite a long time I would guess. You deserve better!

So this is how you can stop being so hard on yourself. You can ask yourself – What would I say to someone I care about if they were in the same situation as me?

Well, I would tell her she is doing her best and maybe she is expecting too much of herself. Maybe she should give herself a break. Maybe she is even going above and beyond and not giving herself credit for that.

Then you can speak to yourself the same way you would speak to your friend. The very same words! This is called self-compassion! It’s one of my favorite techniques. It’s learning to be a good friend to yourself. Imagine what that would feel like? You probably do it easily for others – so now it’s just turning that around and doing the same thing for yourself.

Why? Because what you say to others is likely very realistic. It's the truth and you believe it. It’s not something you’re making up. So now just turn it around and say it to yourself. You’ll feel better immediately. Yes, it might feel awkward at first, but that’s ok. Stick with it. You’re worth it!


I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic. Can you relate to this? Please comment below and let me and others know. If you know anyone else who would benefit from this technique, please forward this to them or send them over to my website at so they can learn how to stop being so hard on themselves too!


Hi! I'm Beth Matthews. I'm a Registered Psychologist who is driven to helping people feel better about themselves. I help people who are struggling in their lives gain an awareness of how they can cope with anything that comes their way. With my easy-to-use strategies, you can feel better and be your best you!


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