STOP Being So Hard On Yourself!

How often are you your own worst enemy? How many times do you talk yourself down whenever you’re learning new things or made a mistake? You tell yourself you’re not smart enough, you don’t have what it takes, you’re too shy, slow, clumsy, fat, scared or a host of other words. You give up on a situation or yourself before you actually stop for a second to ask yourself if you actually could accomplish it. That seems to be very common with many people, but especially those who struggle with ADD/ADHD. It’s easier to admit defeat before you even think to give something new a try. Why is this?

I think that sometimes we forget just how human we really are. When we’re tired or stressed, we tend to beat ourselves down more often. We react emotionally before we take time to think about how to respond logically to situations. It’s important to remember that we are only human and that we all will make mistakes. That’s how we learn and experience life! Every day we are given an opportunity to learn more, appreciate more, improve more, and design the type of person we want to be.

Reactive vs. responsive behaviors

In order to do that, however, you have to stop yourself for a moment and think clearly. Your first reaction is to respond to something emotionally. Take just 3 seconds to breathe and let that first impulse to react emotionally, move to the brain so you can think and then react logically! Just 3 seconds is all it takes to set the stage for more logical thinking and so you can be in charge of your response.

Try this tip:  When you catch yourself with negative thoughts running through your head, right then is the time to verbally say, “STOP!” out loud and create that emotional-to-logical shift.  This can only be done when the brain hears what you want it to do.  Then ask yourself what good things can come from the situation–learn to think forward!  This may be difficult at first, but continue to practice asking questions such as this while thinking ahead at what could be.  You will automatically shift into this mode in time.

Some forward-thinking responses to try:

– I have gained an appreciation for the thing or someone else.
– I have learned something interesting about myself.
– Next time I encounter the situation or person, I know how I’ll respond.
– Next time I’ll be more prepared with….
– I’ve grown more due to the situation than I would have if I hadn’t gone through it.
– I understand that “experience is growth”.

Thinking about future responses gives you an opportunity to ask what you’ll do in a similar situation if that situation should arise again. It’s called problem solving. This teaches the brain to take what you learned, assess it, and provide a positive and logical solution the next time you encounter it.

Put aside perfection

All of us hold ourselves to a much higher standard than we should. We don’t expect certain things from other people, yet we do expect certain things from ourselves.  Think about that and see if it’s true with you.  If so, adjust your expectations of yourself.  It’s okay to be perfectly imperfect!  Take notes if you need to.  One of my clients actually wrote down her protectionistic tendencies, then wrote out possible changes she could make in the future.  What a great idea.  She can look back at her “cheat sheet” until she develops a habitual pattern.

Rewrite your stories

Catch yourself when you hear those negative conversations going on in your head.  These are “stories” that so many of us play over and over in our heads.  They can suck all of the joy from you so quickly.  So, the best thing to do it rewrite them and create a different ending. 

Make a conscious choice to STOP the stories and verbally say it out loud with vigor and emphasis. Change your focus on something positive or use the examples above to learn better ways to grow in positive ways from the experience you had. We are all human and we will always make mistakes. That’s how we learn and that’s how we problem solve our way to more positive experiences in the future. Challenge yourself often and look ahead at the good things that can come from our not-so-great situations that we get ourselves into sometimes.

If you give this a try and have successful outcomes, please share your story with us. It’s great to learn from others!


Cathy is a certified Wellness Educator and Coach with a strong passion to help her clients in their journey to improve their overall health and vitality.  As a Healthy Lifestyle Planner, Cathy shares all of the practical ways to reduce stress, recover lost energy, restore immune health and manage and maintain health goals over the years.  She empowers people to hit the pause button in life and become more in tune with their bodies by using evidence-based lifestyle interventions to prevent lifestyle related diseases. This type of approach empowers individuals with the knowledge and life skills to make effective behavioral changes that address the underlying causes of their conditions.  

Cathy is also the creator and director of the Holistic Wellness Academy; an online training platform. The site offers clients and practitioners step-by-step courses that are short and actionable.  Each course is loaded with scientifically-backed information, ideas and practical, time-saving tips that empower and motivate people to successfully navigate through all the distractions life throws at us.  She is also finalizing her newest program, “RESTORE Your Immune System.”  This program explains why people are struggling to stay healthy and the steps they can take to balance and restore the body back to its natural homeostasis. Today it is so important for people to take back control of their health in order to reverse dis-ease.

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