You see I have a mentality of a perfectionist. I am an all or nothing kind of guy and though this will have its pro’s and con’s it creates a lifestyle in which I am always on the journey to conquer more and be more no matter what. So when change comes – this is like getting punched in the face while casually standing at a bus stop. The unexpected impact comes to a surprise and throws me off my usual, expected routine. Now the old I would have given up, however, the new I has a goal to make it happen and get my result – no matter what. Learning to adapt is a challenge in itself.
This brings me to my real point of this blog. Being hard on yourself can take a toll – but I think it creates a lifestyle in which will create you essentially into something better. Have a look and you’ll see what people who are hard on themselves will understand:
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. This is often at the cost of our social life and family commitments. Everything is forgotten about in the name of perfection.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. (I control this now)
We Feel Humiliated When Others Perform Better
If it turns out that someone else scores higher on 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.
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.
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.
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.
We Only Focus on The Result
We keep our eyes firmly on the prize, be it a 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.
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.
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 have taken the steps and I still am to ensure I am making the most of the pros, the values, and the structure being hard on yourself enables. In terms of the negatives, these I have diminished or have already and if you’re like me and hard on yourself… don’t worry you will get there too.
“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” – African Proverb