Is Saying “Don’t be Too Hard on Yourself” an E-ZPass?

“Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself”


This is a common saying amongst women and especially women who are striving to become better, healthier, stronger version of themselves (myself included).  I am able to see it two different ways. One way is it’s an easy out when we don’t want to change or face the harsh reality of how we want to become better.  We may use this saying as an excuse to stay stuck, to defend ourselves and to let our ego lead the way.  On the other hand; this saying can be used when we are actively pursuing better, making positive changes in our lives and are still beating ourselves with negative self-talk . I know in my own case and with many of the women in my tribe, it’s the latter.  I have been thinking about this concept as of late.

How do we separate “being too hard on yourself” from constructive growth, looking in the mirror and being HONEST with yourself about the areas you want to transform?

I believe that being too hard on yourself means attaching emotion and self-worth to your behaviors or actions/mistakes.

Actually being too Hard on Yourself looks like:

For instance, when my husband tells me that he was hurt when I did _______; I immediately beat myself up (Why can’t I get it right? Why do I suck? Why can’t I get it together? I am terrible at this. Nothing I ever do is good enough. Why do I even try?).  I shrink into my intimidated, insecure little girl self like I did something wrong, and then I get defensive.  I am clearly attaching an intense emotion about myself to my action.  This is not useful in the healing process nor does it help the situation or relationship.  My husband always says, “let’s not attack each other. Let’s attack the problem.”  That is separating us from the problem at hand and making us stronger as a couple and as individuals as we journey through this life.  Being too hard on ourselves does not lead to transformation.

Disassociating my self-worth from my actions/mistakes is what leads to transformation. It allows me to stay objective, see more clearly, give myself love and grace and change my thoughts and language to something more loving and constructive such as, “I apologize that I didn’t do ____ and I can see how it hurt your feelings.  I will do it better or differently next time.”  It is the same with self-sabotaging ourselves with nutrition choices. We make a grand declaration to give up sugar and alcohol. We happen to be at a gathering and have a sliver of cake. Here comes the negative self-talk…”why can’t I do anything right? Why do I suck? Why can’t I get it together?” Again, not useful.  We can change our language to: “I had a slice of cake, and it was delicious. I enjoyed every bite of it. However, next time I will choose to do better and have carrot sticks with guac instead being honoring and loving my temple is more important to me right now.”

Constructive transformation INSTEAD of being too hard on yourself looks like so:

  • Being objective of your thoughts, beliefs and actions
  • Taking ownership of your thoughts, beliefs and actions
  • Separating your self-worth from your mistakes. YOU are not a mistake. You made a mistake. There’s a huge difference there.
  • Identifying your fault in the situation, admitting your were wrong in a loving, graceful way (without beating yourself up). This is hard one. I think we often don’t apologize or take fault because we are associating it with our self-worth. This also poses a problem in relationships. When we do not admit our fault in the scenario; the problem keeps coming up and nothing ever gets solved. We must be able to see how our thoughts, beliefs or actions contributed to the situation, speak it out loud with clarity and honesty and create a new way to do it better next time. Only then will we grow and transform.

Using “Don’t be so Hard on Yourself” as a Copout looks like:

Using the statement; “Don’t be so Hard on Yourself” can also be a copout, so watch out for that!  It can also be a way of saying, “nah, I think I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing. I don’t want to change. I just love myself the way I am (we should love ourselves! But if we aren’t striving for better with grace and love, then what’s the point?!).”I think I’ll just keep complaining to my friends about how fat I am, how depressed I am, how much I hate my job, how broke I am, and then they will give me an E-ZPass and say “Stop Being so Hard on Yourself.”  And then I gained permission to keep doing the same ol’ crap the same ol’ way and the cycle continues.

In conclusion, I think we need to be more mindful of our thoughts, our self-talk, how we navigate through challenging situations. If we can learn to  improve our self-worth (cuz let’s face it; YOU ARE WORTHY!); then we will be able to take more objective, clear actions, identify core beliefs that we want to shift and continue to transform into the beautiful being we know we are  meant to become. And in the process; we can love ourselves.

If this article was more harsh than normal; I am feeling a bit fiery and no non-sense today! =)

Have a magical weekend and don’t be too hard on yo self 😉


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