Why Am I So Hard On Myself?
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Why Am I So Hard On Myself?

Many of us struggle with self-criticism, an unwelcome guest on the roller coaster ride of life. It can be extremely challenging to deal with the never-ending invasion of negative ideas, the sense of failure that comes with every error, and the propensity to criticize oneself. But have you ever stopped to consider why you are so hard on yourself? In today’s discussion, we will explore the complexities of self-criticism, comprehend its causes, and discover the way to self-compassion.


Table Of Contents

Why Do I Beat Myself Up All The Time?

Why Do I Feel Like a Failure When I Make Mistakes?

Does My Childhood Environment Play a Role?

How Do I Know If I Have Unrealistic Expectations?

How Do I Start Being Kinder to Myself?


Why Do I Beat Myself Up All The Time?

A complicated interaction between internal and external circumstances is often the root cause of self-criticism. We often become overwhelmed with demands in the modern world to achieve accomplishment, perfection, and constancy. This external pressure has the potential to permeate our internal conversations and foster a culture in which any deviation from perfection is seen as a failure. Furthermore, social standards often demand that self-criticism catalyze improvement. But this idea might create a vicious cycle in which it becomes accepted to shame oneself (Naragon-Gainey & Watson, 2012).


Deeply embedded ideas about one’s own value may psychologically motivate the tendency to criticize oneself. A flawed self-image can be produced by undesirable events, past failures, or negative comments from others that become ingrained in our minds. To escape this habit, one must be self-aware, acknowledge these tendencies, and deliberately choose an approach of self-compassion.



Why am i so hard on myself?

Photo by Vinicius Wiesehofer


Why Do I Feel Like a Failure When I Make Mistakes?

Although making mistakes is a natural part of being human, many of us suffer from a crippling sense of failure when we do. This response is frequently a result of our perspective on how we view errors. Errors are often stigmatized by society because it perceives them as flaws as opposed to chances for improvement. The fear of being judged and rejected exacerbates the sense of failure and makes it challenging to distinguish how valuable we are from what we do (Rahamim et al., 2016).

It’s critical to realize that errors serve as opportunities for growth rather than as roadblocks. Errors present significant learning opportunities and chances for personal growth. Adopting the mindset of growth enables us to see mistakes as fundamental components of learning, changing our attention from failure to advancement.



Does My Childhood Environment Play a Role?

The way we think and act is greatly influenced by the experiences we had as children, and self-criticism is no different. The upbringing we had has a big impact on how we perceive ourselves. An unforgiving inner critic can be cultivated by a demanding or critical upbringing, but self-compassion can be fostered by a loving and supportive setting (Blatt, 2004).

You can gain important insights into the causes of your tendency for self-criticism by investigating your early experiences. Early childhood experiences of rejection, extreme pressure, and worthlessness can cause people to internalize guilt about themselves to a great degree. As a result, their increased tendency to engage in inappropriate behaviors and place excessive pressure on their own self-acceptance may be influenced by this elevated sense of shame. Individuals going through such situations often turn out to be excessive self-critics (Murphy & Bates, 1997).



How Do I Know If I Have Unrealistic Expectations?

Self-criticism frequently stems from unrealistic expectations. Setting unrealistic expectations makes failure inevitable. Recognizing unreasonable expectations requires reflection and a practical evaluation of our objectives and benchmarks.

Evaluate if your objectives match the actual situation you find yourself in. Are you expecting everything in your life to be flawless? Are you establishing objectives that are reasonable and consistent with your skills? In case, the answer to these questions is negative, it may be necessary to reevaluate your expectations.

The comparison of yourself with others is a further indicator of exaggerated expectations. Particularly on social media, where users frequently solely highlight their accomplishments, people may promote a skewed picture of reality. Keep in mind that every person has a unique experience, so comparing your behind-the-scenes footage to that of another person will only lead to dissatisfaction.



How Do I Start Being Kinder to Myself?

A conscious effort and a willingness to change are the first steps in the transforming process of crafting self-compassion. Here are some feasible steps to get you started on the path to self-kindness:

Mindful Awareness: Start by practicing mindfulness. Be mindful of your ideas and inner dialogue. Recognize when you’re being unduly judgmental and swap out your negative thoughts for ones that are more sympathetic and reasonable.

Challenge Negative Beliefs: Recognize your self-destructive ideas and confront them. Consider whether these opinions are the result of false perceptions or accurate information. Most of the time, you’ll discover that these ideas are false and may be rephrased to be more constructive.

Embrace Imperfection: Recognize that perfection is an unattainable goal. Accept your flaws as a necessary component of what makes you special. Errors are not an expression of weakness but rather a chance to learn.

Set Realistic Goals: Take a fresh look at your objectives and aspirations. Establish attainable goals that are in line with your skills. To acknowledge accomplishments along the road, break down more ambitious objectives into smaller achievable steps.

Practice Self-Compassion: Show yourself the same compassion and consideration that you would extend to a friend in an identical situation. Being self-compassionate entails supporting and encouraging yourself as well as recognizing your difficulties without passing judgment.

Seek Support: Talk to loved ones, a therapist, or friends about your experience. Talking about your difficulties can provide you with new perspectives and insightful information. An external opinion can occasionally help end the self-criticism loop.




Self-compassion emerges as the graceful companion that leads to emotional well-being and personal growth in a partnership between self-criticism and self-compassion. Understanding the roots of self-criticism, confronting irrational expectations, and consciously choosing self-kindness are all necessary for resolving its enigma.


As you set out on this path, keep in mind that developing self-compassion and accepting imperfection is a sign of strength and perseverance rather than a sign of weakness. Thus, practice self-kindness, as it holds the secret to a happier and more fulfilled existence.






Blatt, S. J. (2004). Two types of depression. In Experiences of depression: Theoretical, clinical, and research perspectives (pp. 15–52). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/10749-001

Murphy, B., & Bates, G. W. (1997). Adult attachment style and vulnerability to depression. Personality and Individual Differences, 22(6), 835–844. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(96)00277-2

Naragon-Gainey, K., & Watson, D. (2012). Personality, Structure. In V. S. Ramachandran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Human Behavior (Second Edition) (pp. 90–95). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-375000-6.00275-5

Rahamim, O., Garbi, D., Shahar, G., & Meiran, N. (2016). Evaluative processes in self-critical individuals: The role of success and failure inductions. Personality and Individual Differences, 100, 105–113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.03.083



Written By: Dr. Wasif MD

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, LMFT

Published : 01/10/2024


Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals. However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Written and reviewed by

Dr Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, ACS, LMFT

Dr. Kyle Zrenchik is the Co-Founder of ALL IN, the Creator of the Couples Erotic Flow model for treating sexual issues in individuals and couples, Designer of the Deep Dive programs at ALL IN, and is one of the most well-respected couples counselors in the Twin Cities.

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