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13 Struggles That People Who Are Hard On Themselves Would Understand

13 Struggles That People Who Are Hard On Themselves Would Understand

Being a person who is hard on himself or herself is very challenging. Some people think that we create our own problems by being hard on ourselves. The thing is it’s not natural for us to be kind to ourselves. We didn’t learn how to be compassionate to ourselves when we were young.

Here are 15 struggles that we people who are hard on ourselves would understand.

1. We seek perfection because of our past experiences.

We have zero tolerance for our own faults. Perfection is important to us. Maybe it’s due to our childhood experience like heavy expectations from our parents. Though you know the cause clearly, it has become a habit that you find it hard to get rid of it.

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2. We are only hard on ourselves.

When other people make mistakes, we forgive them readily. We are kind to other people and set low standards for them. But when it comes to ourselves, we set impossible high standards that can never be reached. We believe that other people deserved to be treated kindly, but not us.

3. No matter how talented we are, we still think it’s not enough.

We focus on achieving success, but no matter how much we achieved, we still feel that it’s not good enough. We don’t recognize our own talents because we think that everyone can do what we do.

4. Criticism makes us feel even worse.

It’s not because that we aren’t open to suggestions. It’s because people are telling us things that we already know about ourselves. We are good at finding faults with ourselves. Their criticisms just reaffirm how bad we know we are.

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5. But we keep asking for feedback to seek reassurance.

Even though we seek perfection in everything we do, we don’t know what perfection is. Our parents never praise us when we did something good or when we get good grades in school. They don’t want us to get too big-headed. But that also made us feel that we didn’t do well enough all the time.

6. Yet, we can’t receive compliments.

We never hear enough positive things about us growing up. When people compliment us, it’s hard for us to believe what they said is true. We think that they are just being nice to us. So every time someone gives us a compliment, we would give the credit to something else.

7. We hate to open up and be vulnerable.

We are afraid to let others know that we are less than perfect. We know we aren’t the perfect child, the perfect parent, the perfect student, the perfect employee, the perfect boss etc. But other people cannot know about this. We feel insecure when other people know that we aren’t as strong as we looked.

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8. We don’t ask others for help even when we need them.

Asking others for help makes us look weak. It also make us feel incompetent. We don’t want others to know that we can’t accomplished what we set out to do. No matter how hard it is, we want to do everything by ourselves. We want to be perceived as capable. So we help others and not let them return the favor.

9. We don’t want to disappoint others, especially our parents.

We try to get everything right the first time. It is painful to let other people see us fail. Failure not only affects our self-image, it affects our parents’ image too. Remember how disappointed they were with us when we got bad grades in school or messed things up. We want our parents and others to be proud of us. We don’t want to let them down.

10. We feel responsible for other people’s happiness.

We are quick to blame ourselves even when things don’t work out for others. For example, when our children didn’t turn out the way we expect them to be, we blame ourselves for not being good enough parents or not loving enough. If other people’s needs aren’t satisfied, we always see us as the problem.

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11. We always ask for forgiveness.

We always feel guilty about our mistakes and apologize to others frequently. “Sorry” is our mantra. We don’t know how to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. If others can forgive us, at least that would make us feel much better.

12. We keep thinking about the things that we did and the things we didn’t do.

We are full of regrets. We are always haunted by our past. We always reprimand ourselves for not doing it better, so that we would learn and not to make the same mistakes again. However, we still make the same mistakes over and over again.

13. We punish ourselves to make us feel better.

Other people think that we create our own problems by being hard on ourselves. That’s not the case. We punish ourselves so that we feel less guilty for the things we have done. We don’t know how to be compassionate towards ourselves. Being hard on ourselves makes us the victim and we can sympathize with that.

Featured photo credit: I Died So I Could Haunt You / Helga Weber via flickr.com

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Yong Kang Chan

Self-Help Author (Writes about Self-Compassion and Mindfulness)

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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