04 Apr How to let go and stop beating yourself up
It’s amazing that in today’s world, we are often our biggest enemy. When you take a closer look, though, it becomes understandable why this is so, as pressure from peers, the media, and others to conform can be immense.
If we don’t live up to this standard, we lambast ourselves for not being who others say we should be. It doesn’t matter if we are a square peg: we must jam ourselves into that round hole, physics be damned.
However, the nature of present times have not only made it possible to be the person we truly are, it confers real advantages over those still trying to fit in with the crowd.
If you want to embrace your true self, though, you need to stop beating yourself up. In the pages that follow, we’ll go over some mind hacks which will help make this possible.
1 – Stop trying to live up to societal representations of success
The biggest reason we assail ourselves is that we adopt societal models of success (wealth, prestige, adulation by others, etc) regardless of whether it fits us.
When we don’t live up to these ideals, we force ourselves to do whatever we need to do to get back on track. Some succeed in this mission but are miserable, even after attaining them.
Know this: all the money, fame, and external validation in the world won’t make you happy unless you have an innate inner desire for these things. If you don’t have that hunger within you, it’s time to stop beating yourself up and find something which consumes your interest from the moment you open your eyes in the morning.
2 – Define what success means to you
If you would rather travel perpetually, live a simple life in the woods, or spend more time with family, pursuing The Plan (you know, the one laid out by banks and mutual fund companies) won’t get you to where you want to go.
Instead, you’ll need to draft a road map which will guide you towards your ideal life. This is the more difficult path, as the one blazed by those following The Plan will not be available to you.
You’ll have to make your own choices at countless junctures: a significant chunk of your savings may need to go towards a travel fund, you may have to spend your weekends building a self-sufficient log cabin, or you’ll need to completely overhaul your budget and work schedule to make more time for your family.
Whatever your dream is, your path will be different than those who spend 40+ hours a week in a cubicle and veg out on the couch on the weekend, so stop beating yourself up and start plotting out what you need to do today.
3 – Start and keep a gratitude journal
Left unchecked, negativity can have an enormously destructive effect on our lives. While it is important to not ignore these feelings entirely, it is important that we do not allow them to rent space in our head.
One of the best ways to prevent this from occurring is to flood your mind with things you are grateful for on a daily basis.
By focusing on what is good in our lives, we plant seeds of happiness and contentment, both of which leave no room for fear and melancholy, the offspring of negativity.
4 – Use negative feelings and feedback as action signals
As much as this article focuses on freeing yourself from the self-inflicted harm which results when you refuse to stop beating yourself up, it is important that you don’t totally disregard negative feelings and outcomes.
If you worry about the security of your valuables on holiday, you shouldn’t just leave them out in the open and blindly trust hotel staff to not steal them.
Instead, acknowledging negative feelings such as worry can be useful, as you can then take a constructive action in response (e.g. using a safe or security box to keep your things out of harm’s way).
As long as you don’t dwell on them, negative emotions such as fear, anger, worry, and others can be harnessed to do good in your life.