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How to Stop Beating Yourself Up: 10 Ways to Stop Your Inner Critic

Amber Murphy

Have you found yourself lying in bed in a cold, dark room, thinking how messed up your life is? Or have you felt a deep sense of regret for missed opportunities? Or perhaps those times when you feel remorse for failing an exam or an interview? That’s the truth in life. At one point in time, we all go through to that point where we question our abilities or skills and wonder if we’d amount to anything. Despite all your accomplishments, you are down to this one failure or mistake in your life. The important thing is that you learn how to stop beating yourself up.

Life is full of surprises, of twists and turns lurking in every corner. For this reason, goal setting is essential to keep you from being lost in the jungle of what is called life. In a world where competition beats the best from everyone, you become obsessed with your goals to beat the odds. And end up beating yourself up.

The enemy within

Man staring into his reflection, holding up a glass shard

How to stop beating yourself up? First, you have to find the source. How you perceive yourself and the world comes from deep-seated emotions, you’ve nurtured from childhood. It’s the nagging or criticism from your family and friends that made you set a standard for yourself.

When your parents ask you to accomplish specific goals so they can be proud of you. As Carl Jung puts it, “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.” Unconsciously, you try to beat yourself up to feel belonged and loved.

Growing up, you cling to this inner critic and acquired beliefs which resulted in low self-worth. Devaluing yourself to the minimum thinking, you’ll never be good enough. But that’s what it is. Their beliefs, not facts. A reality that people often forget. And beliefs can be transformed to allow your best self to move forward and start overcoming low self esteem.

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How to stop beating yourself up?

“Your worst enemy is yourself,” an adage you often hear but disregard. Until you face yourself in the mirror, you get to meet your most considerable support or, worst, your fiercest rival. Every human being on the planet has positive and negative attributes. Through harnessing your best self, you can genuinely be happy for where you are and be proud of your journey. Here are nine ways on how to stop beating yourself up:

Positive self-talk

Woman staring at her self in the mirror

Have you wondered why it’s hard to say good things about yourself or even accept compliments from other people? It’s because you don’t even say those kind words to yourself. As petty as it may sound but learning to admire yourself will help you boost your confidence.

Some simple things you could do:

  • List at least 10 of your positive attributes or strengths.
  • Recite morning affirmations to energize your day.
  • Ask others to list the good things they see in you.
  • Send a postcard to yourself with your dream destination as if you’ve been there and how remarkable the journey was.

Pay yourself first

Often, you can be kind to others but yourself. While there’s nothing wrong with being generous or helpful to others, not doing the same to yourself could quickly exhaust or drain you. To the point, there’s no more to give. Treat others like how you want to treat yourself. If you encourage and support others in their dreams, do the same with yourself.

Stop comparing

Man looking pensive into his reflection in the window

The advent of social media harboring dissatisfaction and hatred from the vast majority. People lean into their web profiles to highlight their achievements. And then you get caught up comparing your dull life with their “exciting” journey. Feeling sorry for yourself. When you start to feel that urge to dislike or curse their journey, you can do either of these things: Turn off social media or appreciate your achievements because one day, you too will get there. To stop comparing yourself with others, instead compare yourself to who you were yesterday.

Remember that everyone is venturing into their journey. Don’t compare yourself with them because you’re not walking on the same path. To stop beating yourself up, water your soil for your plant to grow. Don’t worry about the grass being greener on the other side.

Look at mistakes as stepping stones

You grew up in a surrounding, especially with the education system, that failure is not an option. However, the “real life” is not a walk in the park. To achieve your goals or dreams, you have to experience a lot of setbacks and disappointments. Don’t beat yourself up. Because these are all part of growing up and mistakes remind you that there’s room for improvement. Turn those mistakes into opportunities that will grow you to be a better person.

Exercise self-compassion

Woman laying in field, smiling

Change the question you throw to yourself. Instead of asking, “am I good enough,” switch it to “is this good for me.” You often fall into the shadow of your parents or boss’ standards, continually striving to seek approval until you lose your own identity.

Remember this: you are enough. The people who matter the most in your life will accept you for who you are. No one’s perfect in this world. Seek for progress, not perfection, because you’ll never get there.

Apologize to yourself when things don’t turn outright. And equally critical, learn to forgive yourself when mistakes happen. You are human, after all.

Let loose

When was the last time you did something for the first time? When was the last time you did something that made you happy? If you want to know how to stop beating yourself up, you have to start living the life you wanted. Step out of your comfort zone and wiggle out the things that are stressing you out. Do something out of the ordinary. Do something fun. Create a bucket list and try to accomplish at least one per month.

Don’t let past mistakes and pain hold you back from breaking out of your shell. Start letting go of mistakes and start living on your own terms.

Nurture yourself

On your way to your goal, don’t only focus on the obstacles but learn to acknowledge the small wins in between. Reward yourself for those victories, as pocket-sized as they may seem. For these are trinkets of triumphs that’ll boost your energy up.

Practice self-care to give you enough stamina to breeze through difficult times. Indulge in a luxurious warm bath. Watch your favorite movie or series. Gratify your cravings. Because you deserve to be pampered. You earned it after all the hard work you put in.

Spend time with nature and watch the stars in the sky

Nature has a unique way of calming the spirit and re-energizing the mind and body. More importantly, it shows you the beauty and wonder of life. Watching meteor showers or observing another entity in the vast sky gives you a different perspective. The truth is you are just a speck in this vast universe. However, as minuscule, as you are, you’re equally important like the birds in the sky, trees in the forest, and the stars shining in heaven.

Surround yourself with positive reinforcements

Group of friends around a bonfire

You can’t expect a positive result from a negative mind. Detoxify yourself from people and things that don’t serve you right. If you find yourself dragging your feet every day to work or school, ask yourself why you are doing them in the first place. It doesn’t help you stop beating yourself up when your environment isn’t even giving you a chance.

Evaluate your surroundings, especially the people you work with. Perhaps a sudden change of environment like redecorating your workspace with elements that energize you can make a swift change. Observe the people you are with most of the time. Do they excite you or drain you? Try to detach or spend as little time as you can to those who give you negative vibes. Spend more time with individuals who help you fill your love tank. Friends and family members could easily give you an instant boost even when you don’t feel like it. As Zig Ziglar said, you are the average of the five persons you spend most of your time with. Choose wisely.

Have an attitude of gratitude

An attitude of gratitude is the simplest thing in the world that’s often taken for granted. Everywhere all you can see is bad news that puts additional weight on your shoulders. Then you beat yourself up, not wanting to be part of the increasing number of disappointments and failures in the world. Blinded with the fame and money the world has to offer.

How do you stop beating yourself up? Learn to appreciate where you are and how far you have come. Practice looking for three things every day that you’re thankful for. It doesn’t have to be huge, it can be as trivial as not being late to your next appointment despite the traffic jam. Or the sumptuous breakfast your mom or partner prepared for you. Instilling this attitude in your daily routine will shift your mind to have an eye for delight rather than criticism. Allowing you to expect nothing and appreciate everything.

Befriending your worst enemy, yourself, is the greatest feat that you can take on. Understand that this does not happen overnight and requires a conscious effort to make it work. But nothing is more fulfilling than bringing out the best version of yourself into the universe. You can do more things if you learn to accept and love yourself even more without beating yourself up.

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