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Be Your Own Best Friend: Why You Should Stop Being Hard On Yourself

Be Your Own Best Friend: Why You Should Stop Being Hard On Yourself

Lots of people are hard on themselves. They often feel like they should be doing more and achieving more, and they worry that they are not good enough.

This can cause people to feel constantly dissatisfied with themselves. For example, they might not want to contribute to a conversation because they feel like they are not interesting enough to join in, or they feel self-doubt when they are praised by others.

There are lots of positive reasons why people are hard on themselves; some people have a strong desire for self-improvement, and they think that being hard on themselves is the best way to improve.

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However, dissatisfaction with yourself won’t necessarily encourage you to push forward and be better. In reality it makes life much harder for many people by creating unnecessary and difficult hurdles. This is because if you are constantly hard on yourself, you won’t feel happy when you do succeed as you are used to being dissatisfied. Self-doubt can also get in the way of connecting with others, as you might think that you are not good enough to go out and meet new people. This can cause anxiety and depression.

Living life with self-doubt can cause a lot of stress, and it rarely benefits anyone. If you’re tired of feeling unhappy with certain aspects of yourself, here are 4 steps that will help you to stop being hard on yourself.

1. Be Aware Of Your Negative Thoughts

The first thing that you must do is being aware that you have negative thoughts. Maybe you have negative thoughts every day, or perhaps even every hour. Realize that the negative thoughts are part of your life, and if you want to get rid of them you must be aware of them when you have then.

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It can be useful to record your negative thoughts so that you can see if there are patterns to your thoughts. Start a thought diary and write down every negative thought that you have, from “I am certain that I have failed my English test even though I revised” to “I feel awkward and weird today.” This will help you to realize that negative thoughts are a big part of your life currently, but it doesn’t need to stay that way.

After a few weeks sit down with your diary and analyze the negative thoughts. You might notice that you have an unhelpful thinking style about school or your career, or you may notice that you often think in black and white, or that you always jump to conclusions. This will help you to understand where your negative thoughts are coming from.

2. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

Make the effort to challenge your negative thoughts instead of automatically believing them.

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This doesn’t mean that you should dismiss the thought; instead open yourself up to the pain behind the thought, and get in touch with your negative feelings by questioning why you think this way. This will help you to have a greater understanding about your negative thoughts.

3. Realize That You Are A Good Person

The reason why you are hard on yourself is because you want to be a good person. If you didn’t care about being a good person, you wouldn’t have these thoughts.

Remind yourself that you have these thoughts because you have a good heart. Write down the things that you love about yourself and carry it with you for a few months. Check the list whenever you are feeling low to remind yourself that you are a wonderful person.

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4. Be Positive And Focus On The Present

Be positive as often as you can; smile at yourself whenever you see your reflection, and make the effort to make other people smile.

Live in the present and focus on the little things, such as wonderful smells and sounds around you. This will help to ease your negative thoughts over time, especially as you no longer ruminate on the past and the future.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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