Have you ever felt responsible when something doesn’t go right, or doesn’t turn out as well as you had hoped? Or maybe you forgot about what an important person in the situation wanted, that important person is you! This could be something you were actually responsible for. Or it could be something you weren’t actually responsible for, but you claimed it as if you were. Keep reading to find out the 8 ways you can stop beating yourself up. You can stop the battle in your mind, and give yourself a break- a very important thing!
We will talk about these 8 things at length in this post.
Be realistic about the situation.
Be honest with yourself.
Value what you have discovered.
Be thankful it’s over
Give yourself grace.
Gimme some slack.
Don’t dwell on it.
Give it to God.
Typical Scenario: Can you relate to these situations?
You are on the phone with your cousin who is always complaining about her ex and truly doesn’t care about the person on the other end of the phone- YOU! You have a hard time giving your opinion and you can’t seem to voice that you simply do not want to talk about it anymore.
You get roped into going to the movies with a group of friends, but someone you don’t feel comfortable with being around someone who is going to be there. You go anyways because you have to, you already said you would.
You agree to plan a birthday party, but you can’t really take it on. Then you feel resentment that they even asked this of you in the first place. There is constant stress about the lack of time and energy you have to complete the planning and see it through. Why’d they ask you any way?
You feel angry at yourself for not standing up for what you believe in.
You feel frustrated that you always end up in this position.
You just want to end the internal war, but don’t know how.
You wonder if something is wrong with you.
You don’t know what to do.
You are done feeling this way.
Of course, being helpful is a good thing, and being there for people in our lives is all a part of having a relationship. There has to be some give and some take. There is good and there is bad. Sometimes a cycle starts that is hard to stop though. You can’t say no when you should, or you go when you shouldn’t. These are the things that start a toxic dialogue in our own heads that heaps on loads of shame for these seemingly simple mistakes. The way you talk to yourself is a big deal though, and I believe this thought pattern is a major reason that our situations keep repeating themselves. There is a better way to handle this than beating yourself up.
The Dialogue from Within
“Why didn’t I just say something back?”
“I could have said something, and stood up for myself.”
“Next time, I will handle that differently.”
“Why didn’t I respond differently?”
And so the war had begun, the war inside your head. Have you had this type of dialogue with yourself? There is a better way because the critical voice in your head doesn’t solve the issue. Nor does it equip you to handle things better next time. Having a critical thought about yourself doesn’t really solve things for you. Negative Self-talk can become a bad habit that disarms you to handle situations in a healthy way. If we’re being honest, it may be hard to recognize that this is not healthy. We can become so used to our own inner critic that we do not know that internal voice can be changed. How we talk to ourselves is a big deal, and changing what that voice is saying can help you to better handle these issues. Something negative thoughts could never do.
It may sound impossible to stop these types of thoughts. If we recognize that there are things we can address to make this easier on ourselves, then maybe it won’t feel so hopeless. Take a deep breath, you can do this!
There’s a voice inside your head. That sounds a little woo woo, but that voice is you. Sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes it’s a hindrance. What we say to ourselves has a huge impact on how we handle situations, or how we feel about them.
What goes on in that head of yours? Are the things you say to yourself loving and supportive or condemning and mean? We all have an inner critic, and this voice can either help us or hinder us. What if you talked to your best friend the way you talked to yourself, would there be a strong relationship or a not so strong relationship? Would she want to continue to speak to you? What you say to yourself matters, because what goes in is what comes out, or it’s what gets stuck on repeat.
Luke 6:45 says “… For out of an abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
Things we say do not just come out of nowhere. We can only give something that we have. What if we are more of the quiet type though? What if we don’t lash out at other people, or say snarky comments? Well, this goes for what you say to yourself too.
Maybe there are people in your life that would love to see you fall. That’s ok if there are, you can prove them wrong, and they have no real power to keep you from the things you or life you want. But what if the person working against you is actually, you?
Webster defines sabotage this way: “destructive or obstructive action carried on by a civilian or enemy agent to hinder a nation’s war effort.”
“Self Sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” -Alyce Cornyn-Selby
There are so many ways we set ourselves up for failure. What are you doing to help yourself succeed?
Beating yourself up is a behavior that has deep roots.
Why is beating yourself up so easy, almost second nature? You don’t have to think twice about it. It’s almost as if it’s a part of who you are. Except that it’s not. Our personalities are a part of us, and there are some things in our genetics that determine if we will be a certain way, or not. But beating yourself up has deep roots. Those roots start to grow out of the beliefs that we have. The good news is our beliefs can change.
- You may not believe you are capable of handling tough situations.
- You may believe you deserve the treatment you get.
- You may believe that it is your duty to suffer.
What does this actually have to do with not beating yourself up? I am so glad you asked. All of these things can make it impossible for you to stop beating yourself up because if you don’t believe something is wrong then there is no reason to change. What we place value on we will work towards.
You may not believe you are capable of handling tough situations.
You may not have a lot of experience with tough situations. You may not have a lot of success with handling tough situations. The truth is that you have the capability to handle tough situations though. You can overcome the things life throws at you. You can get back up when you are knocked down. If you don’t handle one situation well, then you can take what you learned and apply it to the next situation. I can assure you that you will have lots of practice because usually, life is tough. As you can change your internal dialogue and make the change from defeating thoughts to empowering thoughts then you will find that you are able to better handle things when you don’t have an internal division.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
You believe you deserve the treatment you get.
Our beliefs are powerful things. Usually, we act out of our beliefs, and it’s hard to act otherwise. What if our beliefs do not serve us well? What if you believe that you deserve to be treated horribly, will you expect anything different when your husband abuses you? Probably not. If you do not believe that you deserve to be treated well, then when you are treated horribly you will be getting what you deserve. This could not be further from the truth though. You do not deserve to be treated horribly. You deserve to be treated fairly. When there is toxic behavior in a relationship that has been consistently happening for some time, then it is possible that this has been accepted as normal.
You may believe it is your duty to suffer.
You may also believe that you are called to suffer. Maybe in some ways, suffering can be a part of our lives, not by our own doing. A spouse or childs’ decision can cause a lot of suffering, just by the fact that there is a connection to that person and it can be painful to watch them go through things, whether avoidable or unavoidable. Obviously, pain is something that cannot be avoided completely. If you are living, you will feel pain sometime in your life.
Understanding the root causes of a certain behavior is an important step in changing that behavior. For example: If a small child believes that there is a monster under her bed, then no amount of logic can stop that belief. However, if you address a movie she say that makes her believe there is a monster under her bed then you can address that first and then begin to work towards healing the toxic belief. The same is true with all of us. Beliefs are formed for all sorts of reasons. A lot of these beliefs are rooted in childhood.
Having a licensed therapist can help aid you in your journey of healing and reframing unhealthy beliefs. Though some churches do offer Christian counseling, if they’re not licensed then they do not have the training or ability to help you through these often complex issues.
Now let’s dive into 8 simple ways to stop beating yourself up.
8 Ways to Stop Beating Yourself Up
Being realistic about the outcome you expect can help you to have realistic expectations. Too vague of an expectation can have the same effect too. So often when there is a difficult situation we desire for things to be normal. However, oftentimes, what is normal for the situation is what will happen. I understand the desire that things would mellow out, or for there to be less exhausting outcomes.
If you go fishing are you surprised when you don’t reel in a cupcake? Though cupcakes are pretty desirable, the situation does not allow the expectation to be met. The same is true when we are in a situation with someone else. So, don’t go fishing in a swamp and expect something good to come of it. Acknowledge that the circumstance can only provide a couple of different outcomes.
Or do you go to a store that only sells shoes to look for a dress? No! It sounds silly, but this is what we do when we go into a situation expecting an outcome that is just not likely.
Too high of an expectation leaves a feeling of defeat and disappointment when things just don’t turn out the way you’d hoped. Being realistic about the situation helps you to not have too high of expectations, and you won’t feel so let down. Real-life happens, real life is messy and sometimes disappointing.
Be Honest With Yourself
This point is really close to the one above. There must be a realistic expectation of the situation. Likewise, there must be honesty. Honesty with yourself. In any situation, there must be a realistic expectation for your ability to deal with it, but in order to have a realistic expectation then you also must be honest. Honesty is so helpful because it helps you to not have expectations that are too high. Sometimes feelings towards something or someone can lead us to believe the best in them, and sometimes negative feelings can make us feel unable to handle a situation. Believing the best is not a bad thing. However, if you are believing the best of them in the sense that you’re not able to see the role they’re playing then this becomes unhealthy.
Most importantly there must be honest about the role we have played. Are we able to see how we contributed to the situations? Or the outcome? This is the usual spot that women decide to take all the blame. They think “I wasn’t perfect, and so I am just as much to blame.” Instead of taking some of the responsibility though, they take it all. So, be careful with this one, if you are not the only person involved then you are not the only person responsible.
Loving someone can come in the form of being honest with them. Sometimes, giving tough love is the most loving thing we can do. Whether for someone else or for ourselves.
Value What You Have Discovered
Choose to see the good that came from the bad. In any situation, good or bad, there is something to be learned. When it’s over you have that experience behind you, and you have learned something that you may not have learned before. Nothing reveals the truth of what is inside someone than when they’re squeezed by the struggles of relationships and of life. Whether the situation brings something not so desirable out of you or someone else then you can deal with what you now know.
A little girl, Pollyanna, continues to play a game she and her late father made up. Not having a lot of money, and losing her mother, Pollyanna and her father intentionally look for the silver lining in every bad situation. No matter how difficult things get she either inspires or annoys, those around her with her positivity. Some of my readers may have read this book from 1913 by Eleanor H. Porter. I loved reading this with my fourth grader, it was a sweet story. It also made me appreciate all I had been through. And we even tried to look on the bright side of things. A Little Pollyanna is good- even if others don’t find it as amusing!
Be Thankful It’s Over.
Acknowledging a situation is over, can be so healing. When we are in a constant fight-or-flight then the body may not know that the stressful situation is over. When you face a struggle, in a situation or with a person, be thankful for what it revealed and that it is over. Acknowledge that the situation is over, sometimes our brains need us to intentionally think through what happened. It is equally important to acknowledge that it happened and it is not happening anymore. This can help you keep from being stuck in the mental loop. You may have to remind yourself more than once, and that’s okay.
It can feel like, though the situation has passed, that it’s very much alive inside of you still. Take a deep breath. Talk to someone you trust about the situation or journal about it. Both of these are extremely helpful in moving past the hurt.
Gimme Some Slack.
You can only give what you have. You cannot give something that you do not have. It’s important to give yourself grace in the situation. This is pretty much the exact opposite of beating yourself up. It’s okay if you did not handle the situation well. It’s okay if you did not know how to respond. Or responded poorly. Forgive yourself for these things.
It’s really hard to beat yourself up when you are giving yourself grace. Can you do two opposite things at once? Not really? Or at least not well. You’ll end up doing one and not the other. So if you’re beating yourself up then be understanding to yourself, and don’t make yourself pay for it anymore. Kind words from within are necessary for giving grace to yourself.
Don’t Dwell On It
Oh, that broken record that keeps playing the same noise over and over. If that record is in your head then you have the power to stop it. It’s as simple as singing a different song when you have had the same one stuck in your head. You cannot keep dwelling on the thing. It’s over, and if you have moved through the other 6 points then you will be better likely to handle it differently next time. So think about something else. I don’t mean to think of puppies every time a past argument starts to play in your head.
Have you ever dreamed of learning how to do a new craft? Have you wanted to read a new book? Or rearrange/ redecorate a room in your home? Do something to occupy your time. Something new will engage your brain in a way that you will have an easier time not dwelling on things.
Give it to God
I saved my favorite point for last. Give it to God. I once heard the bible states the phrase “do not worry” 365 times. I have not counted them myself, and so I will just take their word for it. But I found that very interesting. God does not want us to worry about things. It steals joy. It’s difficult to trust a mighty God who loves you (and He does love you) and worry about little things at the same time. To a God who is so big and powerful, they’re all little things, even if they’re big to you. Sometimes a different perspective helps, sometimes we need rest or to have someone to lean on. Either way, what is needed most is being able to hand things over to God, who is able, and allow Him to work in your life.
Instead of being your own worst critic, practice being your own best friend. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes. You already have God’s grace, so maybe it’s time to give yourself some grace too. The steps you take today might just help you to have a better tomorrow. Take a deep breath, you’ve got this!
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” -E.E. Cummings