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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.

More by this author

Amy Johnson

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

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Last Updated on March 5, 2021

Science Says People Who Talk To Themselves Are Geniuses

Science Says People Who Talk To Themselves Are Geniuses

I talk a lot to myself. It helps me to keep my concentration on the activity on hand, makes me focus more on my studies, and gives me some pretty brilliant ideas while chattering to myself; more importantly, I produce better works. For example, right now, as I am typing, I am constantly mumbling to myself. Do you talk to yourself? Don’t get embarrassed admitting it because science has discovered that those who talk to themselves are actually geniuses… and not crazy!

Research Background

Psychologist-researcher Gary Lupyan conducted an experiment where 20 volunteers were shown objects, in a supermarket, and were asked to remember them. Half of them were told to repeat the objects, for example, banana, and the other half remained silent. In the end, the result shown that self-directed speech aided people to find the objects faster, by 50 to 100 milliseconds, compared to the silent ones.

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“I’ll often mutter to myself when searching for something in the refrigerator or the supermarket shelves,” said Gary Lupyan.

This personal experience actually made him conduct this experiment. Lupyan, together with another psychologist, Daniel Swigley, came up with the outcomes that those to talk to oneself are geniuses. Here are the reasons:

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It stimulates your memory

When you are talking to yourself, your sensory mechanism gets activated. It gets easier on your memory since you can visualize the word, and you can act accordingly.[1]

It helps stay focused

When you are saying it loud, you stay focused on your task,[2] and it helps you recognise that stuff immediately. Of course, this only helps if you know what the object you are searching looks like. For example, a banana is yellow in colour, and you know how a banana looks like. So when you are saying it loud, your brain immediately pictures the image on your mind. But if you don’t know what banana looks like, then there is no effect of saying it loud.

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It helps you clarify your thoughts

Every one of us tends to have various types of thoughts. Most make sense, while the others don’t. Suppose you are furious at someone and you feel like killing that person. Now for this issue you won’t run to a therapist, will you? No, what you do is lock yourself in a room and mutter to yourself. You are letting go off the anger by talking to yourself, the pros and cons of killing that person, and eventually you calm down. This is a silly thought that you have and are unable to share it with any other person. Psychologist Linda Sapadin said,[3]

“It helps you clarify your thoughts, tend to what’s important and firm up any decisions you are contemplating.”

Featured photo credit: Girl Using Laptop In Hotel Room/Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

Reference

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