Top Ten Tips on...

Stop Beating Yourself Up

26 June 2022
Effective Top Tens - Podcast
Quick, practical tips on a wide range of management and personal development themes.
If your own mental wellbeing is an issue, these top ten tips may help...

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separate yourself from your response

it's not you that's flawed, it's your response or strategy. Very often we get into a mindset where our response to criticism or failure or mistakes is to take a particular approach. That's not helpful in the way we think it through. It doesn't mean that we're flawed. Actually, we're just human, but the way we deal with it, our strategy, our response, is flawed.


impossible expectations

don’t place impossible expectations on yourself. Don't set yourself up a way of living a way of delivering to other people that allows you no room for maneuver or variation, or to put it bluntly, making mistakes. All humans make mistakes. So as soon as we think we should be, or are, mistake proof, we are flawless, we're not only giving ourselves a really hard time, but we're placing expectations on ourselves that nobody else in the world places upon us. So don't have impossible expectations of yourself.


avoid double standards

do you give yourself a hard time, that you would never give to someone else. Are you quick to forgive others, be generous about their weaknesses ad flaws, yet treat yourself so harshly? You would never ever give anybody else a hard time for making a similar mistake. Are you incredibly hard on yourself and not hard on anybody else at all?


stop mind reading, hypothesising and catastrophising

mind reading is to anticipate what the other person is going to say or think, without any basis or evidence that that's what they're going to do. And that assumption about what they're going to say, do or think is always negative. “They'll think the worst of me they'll think badly of me, they'll think I'm useless.” Just mind reading, guessing, assuming, and why would they think or do that? You wouldn't do that or think that of them. If you wouldn't think of all those negative things. So why should they think that of you. And then hypothesizing, I post the sizing is creating an if, then, you know, if they do this, then that's okay. Hypothesising is believing that if you do something that’s not good, then they're going to find it unacceptable or a sign of your weakness. Hypothesising constructs a hypothesis of the worst case scenario or outcome, and catastrophising is it's similar. It's seeing everything as leading to a catastrophe. So if you make a mistake with a client, for example miss a phone call, then they're going to cancel all future work with you. And that would be a catastrophe…but just reverse this: if someone made a similar mistake for you, as their client – would you do what you are imagining they will do? Unlikely. Most responses are much more moderate, more reasonable, than full on catastrophic. And whether the response is reasonable or catastrophic…worrying about it, catastrophiing, won’t make any difference – whereas some positive action – phoning, apologising, setting up a meeting, discussing it – might…



just accept you’re human. Just accept that you belong to this club called the human race, and if you belong to it, you are flawed. We will have flaws. We're not perfect. There is nobody on this planet who's perfect. And that includes you. It includes me. Just live comfortably, f you can, with the discomfort of accepting your humanity. If you can accept that you're flawed, it means you don’t have to put yourself under pressure to be perfect or flawless. You just have to accept that you'll can always do your best, and accept that sometimes it won't be good enough. Sometimes you’’ make a mistake. Because everyone does. Everyone is flawed – but not everyone agonises over it



part of acceptance is freedom. Freedom from that crushing oppression you can or have put on yourself to be perfect. And it’s a relief, like removing a weight from your back.



being flawed and accepting that you are is attractive to other people. It makes you more socially acceptable. It makes you one of us, rather than standing alone yourself. Everybody else you interact with knows that they are flawed and therefore don't expect anything different from you – or the rest of us. And yet if you constantly beat yourself up, they wonder why you are so different? “We just live with the fact that we're flawed. Why are you trying to be somebody you can't be, why are you trying to put yourself on a pedestal or being so precious about this? let it go: accept.” And if you do, then you become one of them. You just become more attractive. Because you're one of the club where it's accepted to be able to live with your misdemeanors and mistakes. It's also equalize. Other people aren't on pedestals, and you in effect start to put yourself on a pedestal by assuming you have these high, super achievements that can't be met. Others wonder why are you doing that? “Come down, join us. Be one of us. Be like us, not separate”. The only person who's putting you on that pedestal is you. So finally if you can accept your flaws, it validates everybody else, and their flaws. Because if you set yourself up to be perfect, and are hard on yourself every time you are not, it can make others think: “crikey, he can't think much of me then, because I’m far from perfect..!” This is where double standards comes in and can hurt others, not just yourself. Because other people think if you judge yourself that harshly, you must be judging them that harshly. So they may not be as comfortable in your company as you might like or think. So when you accept your humanity, your vulnerability, your weakness, it validates the same for them


programme interrupts

if you get yourself into a negative mental state of beating yourself up, because that's what it is, it's a mental state, then that's not helpful to anyone. It is absolutely nonproductive. It takes you down. It takes down people who care about you and nothing gets achieved. So whenever you feel yourself going down, give yourself what I call a good talking to. Now there's a number of these. And next week, if you're interested, I'm going to give you my top 10 program interrupts that have really helped me in my life. These are short and simple self talking solutions to use when you are starting to go down the slippery slope of negative self-talk and beating yourself up, these are the things, these act as your cramping irons, hurled out into the rock face to stop the slide, the kind of anchors to, to stop you falling to rock bottom.


talk to someone

talk to people about how it is: don't keep it to yourself. One of the problems with beating yourself up is it’s a one-way conversation. There's no alternative perspective. So you just spiral downwards because nobody else is breaking that spiral. It's very difficult to pull yourself out of it. Just find a really good friend who will absolutely want to be there for you. That's what a friend is. And they will talk with you, listen to you. They won’t try, I hope, to fix it for you. The only person who can fix it is you. But sometimes just saying it out loud to somebody else changes the dynamic. Express it. Don't suppress it or distress it.


the 6-step process

step 1: walking along the top of a cliff, and everything’s fine. Step 2; a trigger occurs which plunges you over the cliff face. Step 3; falling uncontrollably down the cliff; no parachute, no wings, no branches to grab hold of. Falling, falling….Step 4: rock bottom. No further to fall. Despair and defeat. Step 5 – the resilience and recovery step – eventually deciding not to stay at rock bottom, and finding a way up and off the base, the pit, back up the cliff. Step 6: regaining equilibrium, being fine again – in effect, being back at Step 1…and the whole process may then repeat… To prevent that, there are four critical stages: steps 2, 3, 4 and 5 – so develop strategies for each: know and avoid key triggers, or deal better with them; carry a parachute, or a mattress for a soft landing; don’t wallow at rock bottom, but start to work out how to get out; and be committed, determined to find your way out. And learn from the process, so that it doesn’t repeat.

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