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Believing that self-criticism is justified can sometimes lead a person to be too hard on themselves. This can be especially true for those with perfectionistic tendencies. It's not unusual for people to not remember how long ago being so hard on themselves began. It often feels like it's always been there. Over time, this type of thinking becomes so automatic that people become desensitized and unaware of their hypercritical thinking.

Take a look at the list below and see if any of these sound familiar. Becoming consciously aware you are being too hard on yourself is the first step in giving yourself a break.

Have you ever beat yourself up over small mistakes that don't have any significant consequences? Most mistakes we make are going to have little or no consequences when you look at the big picture. Let's say you just got back from the supermarket and realize you forgot milk for your morning coffee and dog food. Everyone makes small mistakes. Everyone. Forgetting a few items does not make you stupid. You are just human. Rather than beating yourself up, try giving yourself a threshold for mistakes. Mistakes that cost $5-10 dollars or 10-20 minutes are mistakes you can let go and cut yourself some slack.

Even after you have corrected a mistake do you still keep criticizing yourself? Have you ever forgotten someone's name or called someone's partner by the wrong name? Although embarrassing, the long-term consequences of doing this are minimal. Guilt can cause us to critically ruminate about a mistake despite making your best effort to correct your error. All you can do is make your best effort to correct your mistake, let it go, and move on.

Do various aspects of your life regularly take priority over self-care? Today it seems like our lives are busier than ever and it is pretty common for folks to put off things like exercising, eating right, sleeping enough, or taking a yoga or tai chi class. Often we tell ourselves that once we get such and such done then we'll start practicing self-care. The next thing you know, 6-12 months have passed by and your self-care needs are still hovering at the bottom of your to do list. Allow yourself the time and space to practice self-care. You deserve it. Sometimes when we least feel like doing something is when we need it the most.