How To Stop Beating Yourself Up

How To Stop Beating Yourself Up

It’s natural for us to be hard on ourselves at times. This self-criticism is a common human experience that can occasionally motivate us to make positive changes.

However, consistently engaging in harsh self-criticism is detrimental to our well-being.

What does “beating yourself up” mean?

This term refers to engaging in excessive self-criticism to the extent that it negatively impacts your life quality or daily functioning. It can sometimes contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety.

You may find yourself dwelling on past errors, regrets, personal shortcomings, or feeling dissatisfied with your life and unfulfilled aspirations.

If this sounds familiar, this guide aims to offer strategies to help you break the cycle of self-criticism.

While not every suggestion may suit you, it’s likely that at least one approach will resonate and offer a new perspective on how to shift your thought patterns.

Let’s explore these methods.

Prevent Overthinking

Overthinking is often the biggest cause for beating yourself up. The thing with overthinking is that it feeds itself: the more that you overthink, the worse you feel. And it’s a cycle that repeats and repeats

Overthinking is natural, but it can be prevented. Have you noticed that overthinking tends to happen when you are not doing anything? This is because your mind is unoccupied, so, naturally, it initiates trails of thought.

As a result, the method to prevent overthinking is to stay busy and occupied. By simply occupying and distracting yourself, you reduce the potential to overthink.

And this can be done by any means – whether it’s work, a hobby, or simply enjoying a movie.

Practice Meditation

Meditation is another way to stop beating yourself up, as it is a means to detach and be at peace – even for a moment. And it is achieved by simply finding a quiet, comfortable space, closing your eyes, and taking deep, mindful breaths.

You can use meditation to acknowledge what you are feeling and why, or detach from your thoughts altogether.

You can even try imagining that you are somewhere else entirely, by likening your breath to the ebb and flow of waves or the rustling of trees in the breeze.

Realize That Thought Does Not Mean Truth 

Oftentimes, we beat ourselves up because we entertain our thoughts and accept them as truth.

You might often think that you are not good enough, not good-looking enough, or not as successful as you should be, but where lies the foundation of truth here?

In the end, we are who we think we are. The mind is a powerful tool, but we tend to misuse it by believing the negative things it tells us.

Try to envisage your mind and thoughts as someone else – an associate offering criticism. Sure, it will tell you negative things from time to time, but that does not mean you have to listen to it or accept it as true.

Build Self-Worth

Beating yourself up can come as a direct result of having low self-worth. We tend to focus on the negative things about ourselves more than the positive things.

It is vital that we recognize our strengths as much as we recognize our weaknesses. Take a moment to write down your strengths so that they are tangible, and you are fully aware of them.

At the same time, recognize that you are one in seven billion and, therefore, how pointless it is to compare yourself with others. Your strengths are unique, and they are there for you to harness in achieving what you want.

How To Stop Beating Yourself Up

Work On Self-Improvement

We beat ourselves up because there are always areas of our lives that we want to improve. And, a lot of the time, why we beat ourselves up happens because we do not take action.

There is satisfaction in achievement. And no matter how difficult it seems at the start, working on self-improvement – whether it’s studying, working towards a new job, or exercising – is going to bring you happiness in the long run.

If you are beating yourself up because of something you want to achieve, it’s time to take action. Create a plan for self-improvement, start with a manageable goal, and trust in the small steps you are taking every single day.

Live In The Present

Oftentimes we beat ourselves up because of something that we regret about our past, or something that we desire in the future.

And while it is important to learn from past mistakes and have future goals, it is just as important to not be weighed down by these in a way that negatively affects our present quality of life.

Stop beating yourself up by accepting that you have learned from past mistakes. At the same time, focus on the journey rather than the destination.

Where you want to be in life will come – just don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers along the way.

Stop Caring What People Think

Another big reason we beat ourselves up is because we care too much about what other people think.

It could be because of a mistake or something embarrassing that happened.

But it can also be because the fear of what other people might think is holding us back from doing something or achieving something we want – and, as a result, making us unhappy.

The solution here is to know who you are and own it. You know who you are more than anyone else does, and if you are doing your best to work on your weaknesses, the opinions of others should not matter.

Accept What Is Out Of Your Control

how to stop beating yourself up3

Sometimes we beat ourselves up over things that are out of our control. And when that is the case, it is both a waste of time and a waste of energy.

If you find yourself beating yourself up over a problem or difficult situation, ask yourself if it is in your control to fix.

If it is in your control to fix, there is no reason to beat yourself up – you can fix it. If it is not in your control to fix, then, similarly, there is no reason to beat yourself up – as there is nothing you can physically do.

This is a stoic approach to dealing with difficult situations. Ultimately, it comes down to realizing whether a problem is actually worth beating yourself up over.

Tackle Your Insecurities

Our insecurities are often the biggest reason we beat ourselves up. We want to be less afraid and more confident – whether it’s in general, achieving something we want, or becoming who we want to be in life.

The truth is, the only way to overcome your insecurities, fears and inferiority is to face them head-on.

While this is daunting at first, tackling your insecurities by doing what makes you afraid – whether it’s applying for a job, talking in public, or dating – is going to build your confidence with each step that you take.

What’s more, is that facing your fears can even result in you proving yourself – and the insecurities you have – wrong.


Beating yourself up is natural, but it can also be detrimental to your mental health if done excessively on a regular basis.

Thankfully, it is preventable, by simply changing the way you think – how you think about yourself, as well as the way you perceive your thoughts.

Not all the above methods will work for you, but we hope that one resonated with you in a way that sends you on a positive path. Ultimately, life is not easy, but we can make it easier by altering our perspective.

About our Author Michelle Landeros, LMFT license# 115130
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT

Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.

Last updated: July 13, 2024