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Only People Who’re Hard On Themselves Would Understand These 13 Things

Only People Who’re Hard On Themselves Would Understand These 13 Things

Often referred to as perfectionists, people who are hard on themselves live very stressful lives. This usually has little to do with how someone is reared or treated by others.

I have been this way most of my life, although I’ve recently been able to switch off the perfection switch. It’s very hard to live like this -we are usually this way from a very young age, so it becomes all we know.

Have a look and you’ll see what I mean.

1. We Spend So Much Time Trying to Perfect Things

For most people it’s fine to simply allocate an hour or so a day to accomplishing their goals. But not for people who are tough on themselves, we spend all of our free time perfecting our goals.

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This is often at the cost of our social life and family commitments. Everything is forgotten about in the name of perfection.

2. We Become Defensive When Criticized

People who are tough on themselves struggle with criticism even if it is delivered in a gentle way. We take it to heart and store it in a special place for the next time someone criticizes us. Then we bring it back up to the surface again and remind ourselves how imperfect we are.

3. We Go For All or Nothing

If we think we might get full marks, or first prize we will go for something full speed ahead. But if we think that we can’t reach those high standards we simply won’t get involved at all.

This is how much we dislike not winning.

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4. We Are Highly Critical of Mistakes

For the most part we are intolerant of our own mistakes. But we are often critical of others when they make mistakes. We see perfection as attainable and something that everyone should be aiming for. Anything less and the perfectionist doesn’t understand.

5. We Set Out To Be the Best at Everything We Do

We aim to be the best and not second best. We feel a sense of urgency as we work in case someone is passing us. We panic at results time if we don’t ace the exam/assignment/test and get an A. We get frustrated during a game if we don’t score enough baskets.

6. We Get Nervous Sometimes

Anytime we have to perform (at an interview, a presentation, on stage etc.), everything has to be perfect. We put ourselves under enormous pressure to achieve the impossible and so the nervous system caves. This can become worse over time if not addressed.

7. We Feel Humiliated When Others Perform Better

If it turns out that someone else scores higher in a test, or runs faster, or just generally performs better in a particular area of life, we feel humiliated and disappointed. After all, we worked harder than them – so if we can’t beat them now, we’ll never beat them.

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8. We are Our Own Worst Critic

It doesn’t matter how many times somebody tells us that it’s okay, we will continue to beat ourselves up over the smallest things. If we make a mistake or do something ‘wrong’, we still berate ourselves for it long after everyone has forgotten about it.

Sometimes we never forgive ourselves and this can drain our emotional resources.

9. We are Horrified When Exposed

When we are exposed as being imperfect (which of course everyone is in reality), we are horrified. We cover up our imperfect bodies, and we keep our substandard results to ourselves because disclosing our imperfections is just too horrifying. It’s a lot of hard work when you are hard on yourself.

10. We Play Things Over and Over in Our Minds

If things don’t turn out the way we hope, we play it over and over in our minds – as if thinking about it will alter the outcome. This becomes obsessional almost, can be difficult to stop and is quite destructive.

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11. We Only Focus on The Result

We keep our eyes firmly on the prize, be it first place or a good grade, the best outfit or the cleanest house. In the process we forget to enjoy the journey. The value of learning is lost on us and the joy of shopping for the outfit is immaterial. It’s all about being the best at the end of the day.

12. We are Acutely Aware of Others

What other people think of us is of major concern to us. We want them to know that we are the best, the best looking, the most charismatic, the best performer etc.

13. We aren’t Always Happy

People who are hard on themselves often suffer from depression and anxiety as they live in a world where they are in constant pursuit of the impossible. We push ourselves harder and harder to achieve something that is unattainable. Of course this can only result in great disappointment.

After some time, this kind of strain becomes too much for the human spirit and we start to break down.

But it is possible to change – to learn how to go easier on yourself. I’ve found that with maturity I’ve given myself more of a chance to have a little fun with life and to take things less seriously.

If like me you too find it hard to go easy on yourself – take heart – it is possible to break out of those chains.

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Last Updated on December 16, 2018

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

We all look for a better and happier life, but somehow we realize it’s our attitude that makes it hard to lead the life we want. How can we build a positive attitude? Grant Mathews has listed out the things (from the easiest to the hardest) we can do to cultivate this attitude on Quora:

1. Listen to good music.

Music definitely improves your mood, and it’s a really simple thing to do.

2. Don’t watch television passively.

Studies have shown that people who watch TV less are happier, which leads me to my next point…

3. Don’t do anything passively.

Whenever I do something, I like to ask myself if, at the end of the day, I would be content saying that I had spent time doing it. (This is why I block sites I find myself wasting too much time on. I enjoy them, but they’re just not worth it when I could be learning something new, or working on projects I care about.)

Time is incredibly valuable.

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4. Be aware of negativity

A community that considers itself intelligent tends to be negativity because criticizing is seen as a signaling mechanism to indicate that you’re more intelligent than the person you corrected. This was irrationally frustrating for me – it’s one of those things you’ll stay up all night to think about.

5. Make time to be alone.

I initially said “take time just to be alone.” I changed it because if you don’t ensure you can take a break, you’ll surely be interrupted.

Being with other people is something you can do to make you happy, but I don’t include it in this list because nearly everyone finds time to talk with friends. On the other hand, spending time just with yourself is almost considered a taboo.

Take some time to figure out who you are.

6. Exercise.

This is the best way to improve your immediate happiness.

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Exercise probably makes you happy. Try and go on a run. You’ll hate yourself while doing it, but the gratification that you get towards the end vastly outweighs the frustration of the first few attempts. I can’t say enough good things about exercise.

Exercising is also fantastic because it gives you time alone.

7. Have projects.

Having a goal, and moving towards it, is a key to happiness.

You have to realize though that achieving the goal is not necessarily what makes you happy – it’s the process. When I write music, I write it because writing is inherently enjoyable, not because I want to get popular (as if!).

8. Take time to do the things you enjoy.

That’s very general, so let me give you a good example.

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One of the things that has really changed my life was finding small communities centered around activities I enjoy. For instance, I like writing music, so I’m part of a community that meets up to write a song for an hour every week. I love the community. I’ve also written a song every week, 37 weeks in a row, which has gradually moved me towards larger goals and makes me feel very satisfied.

9. Change your definition of happiness.

Another reason I think I’m more happy than other people is because my definition of happiness is a lot more relaxed than most people’s. I don’t seek for some sort of constant euphoria; I don’t think it’s possible to live like that. My happiness is closer to stability.

10. Ignore things that don’t make you happy.

I get varying reactions to this one.

The argument goes “if something is making you unhappy, then you should find out why and improve it, not ignore it.” If you can do that, great. But on the other hand, there’s no reason to mope about a bad score on a test.

There’s another counterargument: perhaps you’re moping because your brain is trying to work out how to improve. In fact, this is the key purpose of depression: Depression’s Upside – NYTimes.com

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I can think of examples that go both ways. I remember, for instance, when I was debating a year or two ago and my partner and I would lose a round, I would mull over what we had done wrong for a long time. In that way, I got immensely better at debate (and public speaking in general – did you know debate has amazing effects on your public speaking ability? But now I really digress).

On the other hand, there’s no way that mulling over how dumb you were for missing that +x term on the left hand side will make you better at math. So stop worrying about it, and go practice math instead.

11. Find a way to measure your progress, and then measure it.

Video games are addictive for a reason: filling up an experience bar and making it to the next level is immensely satisfying. I think that it would be really cool if we could apply this concept to the real world.

I put this near the bottom of the list because, unfortunately, this hasn’t been done too often in the real world – startup idea, anyone? So you would have to do it yourself, which is difficult when you don’t even know how much you’ve progressed.

For a while, I kept a log of the runs I had taken, and my average speed. It was really cool to see my improvement over the weeks. (Also, I was exercising. Combining the two was fantastic for boosting happiness.)

12. Realize that happiness is an evolutionary reward, not an objective truth.

It’s easy to see that this is correct, but this is at the bottom of the list for a reason.

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