5 Signs You Are Too Hard On Yourself

Posted on May 11, 2015 by

Are you enjoying your life? Is your health, sleep, life satisfaction and happiness where it should be? Do you put too much pressure on yourself at work or in your family life? Maybe there is another way.

Here are 5 signs that you need to give yourself a break and lighten up.

1) You never feel like you are good enough
You feel inferior to others even when there is no real basis for this feeling. You constantly compare yourself to others and never feel you measure up. You don’t feel smart enough, pretty enough, handsome enough, FeelInferiorWithoutYourConsenttall enough, thin enough, popular enough, happy enough, successful enough. No matter what you do, you find something to criticize and constantly feel like you could have or should have done better somehow. You rarely feel satisfied with the outcome of your efforts.

Breathe. In reality, you were born good enough. Rarely is the feeling of not being good enough based in reality. Tune in for a moment and name 5 things you like about yourself. Look in the mirror, smile and say “I love feeling good enough.” Write down 5 things you did today that were really good enough even though you didn’t feel that way at the time.

2) You work and just keep going even when you feel exhausted
You work really hard and fail to tune into the needs of your body, or listen and honor your own needs. You ignore your fatigue or the pain in your back or neck and just keep working. You work when you are ill. You catch an unusually large number of colds, and respiratory infections or you are experiencing some unidentified physical symptoms. You are often irritable and resentful. You take care of everyone but yourself.

You will be able to get more accomplished if you follow this rule: Rest When You Are Tired. Write this on a piece of paper and post it where you will see it every day. Your work and your family will benefit from having you be rested, alert, clear, and present. Plan a rest time every day and put it on your calendar. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Avoid staying up late to get things done. Go to bed at the same time every night and set an alarm to remind you to get ready for bed. Take time off periodically and do absolutely nothing. Make a list of 5 ways you can rest and rejuvenate.

3) You never take a break
You haven’t learned about the need to sharpen the saw and you keep working without a break long past the time your mind has become dull or sluggish. You work long hours, you don’t take time for yourself, you never hire a babysitter, you don’t get away for the weekend. You don’t schedule vacations and if you do you stay tied to the office by email or cell phone. You have trouble letting go and truly relaxing.

You cannot be effective in your work or in your home if you never give your brain time to rest any better than you can cut down a Sharpen the Sawtree if the saw is dull. Schedule breaks into your day. Take a lunch break, go for a walk or to the gym, meditate. Set up vacation time months ahead of time and do not take business calls or emails while out of the office. Many of our best inspirations come while our brain is free to idle and be creative.

4) You are a perfectionist
Everything has to be just right. You forget to allow yourself to be human and make mistakes. You expect everything you do to be perfect and rarely feel the satisfaction of a job well done. You focus on the negative and ignore the positive no matter how good things are. You beat yourself up a lot. You expect way too much of yourself and everyone else as well. You are hypercritical of yourself. You spend way too much time on things trying to make them perfect even when others think things already good enough. You feel like you have to do everything yourself or it won’t be done right.

Adopt the saying “good enough is good enough”. Let go of the need for everything to be perfect. You cannot control everything nor do you need to do so. Practice letting things go. Set reasonable limits on how much time and effort you are willing to put into things at home or work and stay within those limits. Ask for help and let go of the need to control every outcome.

5) You worry all the time
You are always on edge, worried about how things will work out. You find yourself obsessing about everything. You can’t sleep at night because your mind is too busy thinking about everything that’s going on in your life. Your mind is full of negative and anxious thoughts. You have trouble calming yourself down.

Practice this relaxation breath to calm down your mind and body. Breathe in through your nose to the count of 4 and breathe out through your mouth to the count of 8 like you are blowing a huge bubble. Do this 3 times periodically throughout the day.

Write down 3 things you worried about in the past month. Then write down how things turned out. Chances are you will start to see that things have a way or working out alright. Practice saying “everything will be okay”.

Debra Burdick, LCSW, also known as ‘The Brain Lady’, is an international expert on ADHD and Mindfulness. She is an award-winning, #1 best-selling author of: Mindfulness Skills Workbook, Mindfulness Skills for Kids and Teens, ADHD: Non-Medication Treatments and Skills for Children and Teens, Mindfulness for Teens with ADHD, Mindfulness for Kids with ADHD, Mindfulness Skills for Kids Card Deck, and Radical Self-Care When You Are Ill Card Deck. She is an international speaker and retired psychotherapist and neurotherapist, who has been helping all ages thrive for over 30 years.

I would love to hear your personal experiences with this topic.


  1. My inability to follow through on tasks, procrastination, and lethargy make me discouraged with myself. Even when I get something done, I think: yeah! Big deal!, at least!! I got that done BUT look at all the other stuff to do!!

    Comment by Barbara Miller on at

  2. This is a common feeling! What would it be like to be kind to ourselves, praise ourselves and let go of our constant negative self-talk?

    Comment by Debra Burdick on at

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