On being hard on yourself

I was in a cafe last week and I overheard part of a conversation between an older guy and a younger guy. It seemed like the older guy was giving advice, and the bit I heard was "do you think you run the danger of being a bit hard on yourself?"

I almost leaned over and said “yep, if he’s a human being he is almost certainly being a bit hard on himself.” I restrained myself because a. I didn’t think it would really help, and b. I’m a card-carrying introvert who doesn’t talk to strangers in cafes.

But it did get me thinking. If you are being a bit hard on yourself (and you are), what can you do about it? Here are three things:

  • Start a meditation practice. Meditation essentially teaches you to separate yourself from the voices in your head, which turns down the volume of the negative self-talk a little.

  • Create a ‘legend file.’ Capture all the nice things that people say about you, and use them to remind yourself whenever you need it.

  • Establish one positive habit. Specifically, pick a habit that has you think more highly of yourself and criticise yourself less. Might be around reading, writing, eating, exercising, publishing, thinking … anything that would change the quality of your self-talk.

You’re doing awesome. You’ve got this.