Hard on Yourself? Steps You Can Take to Let The Habit Go.

If you’re hard on yourself, you can change this habit. Just as you learned the habit, you can also unlearn it.   There are real steps you can take to dismantle the habit of being hard on yourself and begin to really thrive.


Being Hard on Yourself is a “Learned Habit”

Growing up, you learned the habit of being hard on yourself, or being “self critical”.  We aren’t born this way, we learn it from either a parent, older sibling, or significant adult figure in our life.  Like any learned habit, it can be unlearned.  There are steps you can follow to letting go of being self critical.

In my last article, Self-Criticism – How it holds you back and How to let it go,  I talked about the process of shifting your focus from positive to negative.  Not always easy when your habit has been to focus on “What’s wrong“.  If you’re having a hard time of shifting your focus off of what you think you’re doing wrong, try viewing the process from the standpoint of, “I wonder what I can learn here?” or “What am I willing to let go of that no longer serves me in my success and my happiness?”  If you can adopt an attitude of curiosity, it becomes easier to explore the issues surrounding the habit of being hard on yourself.

To start moving your focus to one of support for yourself, begin by looking at what your underlying beliefs are.  If your underlying thoughts don’t serve you in success or your happiness, learn to identify them and then let them go.

Step One

If you read the last article, you know I asked you to identify any message you heard while growing up.  Or any actions such as a disapproving look from someone else.  If you didn’t make the list before, you can do it now.

Make a list of any of the following you experienced:

  1. Negative words or phrases you heard someone say to you about how what you were doing “wasn’t enough”.  Examples of this are, “Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?  You’re impossible.  Your room is always a mess.  When are you ever going to grow up?” 
  2. These can also include – Comments about your appearance – clothes you wore, your weight, etc.

     Another source of how we learned to be hard on ourselves can be looks we saw, or actions/responses by someone else:

    1. Disapproving looks
    2. Rolling of eyes (directed at you)
    3. Sighs of annoyance or disapproval
    4. Emotions you’ve felt in regards to how you felt as a result of any of the above
    5. Judgments or thoughts you made about yourself that you’re still listening to

    These are just a few examples.  Think back and write down any ones you  heard, saw, or experienced.  These messages are valuable information you have to begin unwinding the habit of not letting yourself off the hook.

    When you know what the messages are, it’s easier to incorporate EFT tapping into releasing them.  If you’re having trouble remembering the messages, just focus on any of the negative “self talk” that goes on in your mind.  Write them down so you can check back to the list as you go along.

    If you aren’t familiar with EFT or how to do it, you can read about it here and access a free downloadable EFT Tapping Chart with directions here. 

    How to Use Your List

    Now that you have the list of thoughts, events, or emotions, it’s time to tap.

    Below are some general phrases you can use to start the tapping process.  The more specific you can be, the more effective tapping is, but this is a good place to start because it can help bring up memories or events you might have forgotten.

    The nice thing about tapping is it brings to the surface any underlying emotions, beliefs, or traumas we’re ready to release.  Because it’s such a safe way to examine emotions, you can move through this quickly without reliving the trauma or event in such an intense way as you originally experienced it.

    EFT Tapping Examples

    If you can give yourself a rating as to how hard you are on yourself, or how intensely you feel the emotions around it, this gives you an idea as to how much it shifts and how many more rounds of tapping you’ll need to get it down to a “1” or a “0”.  
    Say out loud, “I’m really hard on myself.”  Give it a rating from 0-10.  10 being absolutely true and “0” being ‘not true at all.’  If you’re dealing with emotions, say “I feel … (fill in how you feel, i.e. “sad”, “discourage”, “frustrated” whatever emotion you feel), and then give that a rating.  
    Now, starting on the Karate Chop (KC) point, say the following while tapping:
    “Even though I heard that phrase or comment (insert the phrase you heard), and I saw “that look”, I still deeply and completely love and accept myself.
    “Even though, I heard what they said and saw that look, and I learned to do the same thing to myself as a result, I accept how I feel about this.”
    “Even though I’m hard on  myself and say negative things about myself (You can insert what they are here), I’m open to changing that habit.”

    Now you would continue on to the tapping points while saying the following:
    Eyebrow: “I’m hard on myself.”
    Side of eye: “I can’t give myself a break because if I do, (fill in the blank.  i.e., “I’ll be lazy, I won’t succeed, I’m not doing well enough in my life”)
    Under eye: “I can’t give myself a break. I have to keep pushing myself and punishing myself.”
    Under nose: “I’m hard on myself.  
    Chin: “It’s the only way I know how to be.
    Collarbone: “It’s what I learned.  They were hard on my so I learned by example and I’m a really good student, so I learned this lesson well.
    Under Arm: “I’m really hard on myself and I’m not letting this go.”
    Top of Head: “I’m hard on myself and I’d like to stop doing this, I’m just not sure that I can.”

    Take a breath and see what comes up.  Are there any additional emotions or memories that surfaced while you were tapping?  If so, are these more intense than the original event or emotion you started with?  If they are, then this is where you’d go next in your tapping round.

    Why Am I Focusing on the Negative??

    We’re often told, “Get over it.  Let it go.  Focus on the positive.”  While these are meant to help us feel better, if we don’t focus on exactly what our subconscious mind is saying, we won’t be able to release how we feel, or change the messages.  Until you acknowledge how you feel, you won’t be able to release it.  Our subconscious wants what’s best for us, so it keeps track This is why you need to first tap on the negative.  Once the intensity starts to go down, then you add in tapping rounds of the positive.  What you’re doing is telling yourself (and your subconscious), “I hear you. I honor how you feel, and you’re worth it.”  You’re letting yourself know that your emotions are valuable.  They’ve given you good information, and now you can release them.  By doing this, you build on your self-worth and let your subconscious mind relax.
    Here’s an example round of the positive:
    Eyebrow:  “I’m letting go of these negative feelings and thoughts.
    Side of Eye:  “They’re moving out now
    Under Eye: “All of these emotions and thoughts”
    Under Nose: “This belief I’m not good enough”
    Chin: “This belief I have to keep beating myself up
    Collarbone: “I’m letting them all go now
    Under Arm: “They’re moving out now”
    Top of Head: “I’m letting them go.  They’re moving out, and that feels good.  Thank you body for letting these emotions go.”

    While this is not the end of the process here, it gives you a place to start.  With any deeply held belief, thought, or emotion, it’s quicker and easier to work with a professional  Their outside view can help you discover areas you might have hidden from yourself.  If you’re able to work with a professional right now, at least begin the process. It will help.
    Remember, this a process and it might take a little time to unravel all the beliefs you have about yourself.  It’s a journey and one worth taking.  Be easy on yourself as you do it.

    If you want to learn how to easily let go of being hard on yourself, book a complimentary call. I can discuss ways you can learn to let go of patterns or critical self-talk so you can more easily move forward in your life.  

    Contact Info:
    (805) 265-9063

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