Why Are We So Hard On Ourselves?

Why Are We So Hard On Ourselves?

Many of us have a tendency to be incredibly hard on ourselves when we don't meet the impossible standards set for us.
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Life can be tough, no doubt, and a lot of us have a tendency to be incredibly hard on ourselves. We judge ourselves pretty harshly and belittle our worth for every little mistake, even things we have no control over. We narrow our sight on perfection and become blind to progress, therefore, leaving more space to degrade our every flaw. We build up so much self-criticism, we can't even take complements from others, let alone have compassion for ourselves.

We paint a picture of ourselves. We create an ideal image of how we want people to portray us and see us. You could say we have a collection of 'masks' we wear in front of others. For most, it looks like this; a happy-go-lucky, controlled and polished picture of society. But a lot of the time those 'masks' cover up feelings of utter worthlessness, self-hatred and vicious personal judgement.

Even though we are portraying ourselves a certain way, much of the time we still feel we are not doing enough. There is the consciousness that you can always do more - you can always give more of yourself. We get caught up in the superficiality associated with the paragon of being perfect and, likewise, the ridiculous standards, that we feel hopeless about ourselves when, no matter what you do, it's not enough.

The message we receive from society is narrow and clear: If you punish yourself enough, you will do better, and we believe this whole-heartedly. We accept that if we are hard on ourselves we will meet the standards we have and/or are given. We live with the thought that, 'maybe ill be worthy if i can just keep up.' For example, you tell yourself you are weak if you can't take on high-stress. Nobody wants to look or feel weak, so we tell ourselves to suck it up. This creates the vicious cycle of trying to reach higher and take on more than we realistically can, leaving us to crash and burn.

We have to be impossibly perfect, but we will never reach that standard because it is not practical. When we measure our value, it seems we are walking on eggshells. On the off chance we reach a standard - it is usually only temporary and we are quickly knocked off our high horse when some other aspect of our life does not reach standards. It's a paradoxical black hole.

It all comes down to our own self-worth. We don't believe we are living up to expectations set by ourselves as well as others, so we feel worthless. We beat ourselves up and don't give ourselves the compassion and grace we need and deserve. There is a need to see ourselves as a ‘good’, and the pressure that we put on ourselves to reach this impossible notion of perfection, and that’s the real problem. In our culture, we’re told the only way to feel good about our self is to be 'perfect'.

This cycle is ruthless and can completely tear a person apart - which can lead to bigger issues like depression and anxiety. So, great. What can be done about it? It's a matter of reflection on what you can give, versus what you do give. What you are capable of, versus where the standards are set and lower that bar. You have to look at the reality of your capabilities as a human being. You have to accept where your threshold is, as an individual. Not what another person can do, or what society expects of you. What you can do. This allows for us to be kind to ourselves, to be compassionate to our flaws. Give a little bit more to yourself instead of handing it to others.

"I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren't more self-compassionate is that they're afraid they'll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have got is wrong becuase our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be." -Dr. Kristin Neff
Cover Image Credit: North-West Jobs

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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But Seriously, Self-Care Is Like Brushing Your Teeth

Minty freshness and all.

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So, I don't know about the rest of the universe, but I brush my teeth twice a day: when I wake up and when I go to sleep. Weirdly enough, though, I tend to follow this mouth cleansing with a wonderful, teeth-staining cup of coffee within 10 minutes.

Many people will wait until after they've had breakfast to brush their teeth, and another group will take it a step further and brush after every meal.

Well, not to be gross, but I am not in those groups. My almost 23 years of no cavities or braces have told me that brushing twice a day is perfectly acceptable. Nor do I have the time or patience to brush after every meal, especially considering that literally, all times have the potential to be meal times in my mind.

Regardless, it's safe to assume that we all agree that brushing our teeth is good for us (I won't get into the whole flossing debacle). Dental health is all that and a box of crackers, and especially good for preventing halitosis and mouth cancer.

Even so, some people may doubt the necessity of brushing one's teeth so often. It's probably the least consistent of all daily routines. I know I've just grabbed a stick of mint gum when I'm running late as opposed to taking the two to three minutes to actually clean my teeth.

Okay. Before I lose you entirely with my confessions of inadequate hygiene, lemme let you on a secret: this is all just as true for self-care as it is for brushing teeth.

Stick with me here. Self-care is that thing that's supposed to help you through the stresses of life. Essentially, it's care for your self.

I know, I don't make this stuff up, kids.

Self-care can be anything from getting an extra five minutes of sleep to canceling Friday-night plans when the week has you emotionally drained to treating yourself with a steak dinner instead of ramen for once.

However, because it looks different for everyone, it can be hard for us to validate actually doing self-care. It's much easier to pretend plaque is a big ol' lie when you can barely tell it's even there.

Plaque, like stress, builds up, though. You can only chew so many sticks of mint gum until you start feeling like you've french-kissed a bowl of lard. Your dentist's face when you finally get around to meeting with them, too.

Yikes.

Same with self-care. Stress can only build up so much until your entire life is consumed by stress. Your teeth might not rot and fall out, but your hair might fall out and the panic attacks might set in.

Also yikes.

Self-care brushes away stress like a toothbrush gets rid of plaque. Do it too much, and you'll have sore gums and an extreme tendency to avoid responsibilities. Do it too little, and you'll have cavities and stress for days.

Now, I'm not here to tell you what to do. I'm not a licensed anything, and I'm a beta adult, at best. However, I have interacted with the human race just enough to know that we're all unique; therefore, we all need different routines to help de-stress.

Revolutionary work here, I know, but seriously. Take a bit to find a system that works for you. Whether it's brushing your teeth right when you wake up and taking yourself out to brunch or it's making yourself a kick-ass breakfast at home and then brushing your teeth, each person is different and each person needs their own method.

For me, I run outdoors, read for fun, and treat myself to good food with good friends. I also try to wake up with enough time to brush my teeth before I have to get to class.

Moral of the story: Self-care is essential for life. Find a routine that works for you.

And, most importantly, brush your teeth.

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