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Are You Hard on Yourself?

March 7, 2011

Most of us are raised to be considerate and understanding to others. We support family members or friends when the need arises. When our own needs arise, however, are we supportive or judgemental? According to a new area of psychological research called self-compassion, going easy on yourself may be a healthier way to live. In “Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges,” Tara Parker-Pope writes:

”Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your family and friends?

That simple question is the basis for a burgeoning new area of psychological reasearch calles self-compassion – how kindly people view themselves. People who find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, it turns out, often score surprisingly low on self-compassion tests, berating themselves for percieved failures like being overweight or not exercising.

The research suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Prelimenary data suggest that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat and may help people lose weight.”

Students: How do you treat yourself? Are you easy on others, but hard on yourself? What do you think of this research? Do you think that learning self-compassion will make you healthier? Will it give you motivation to improve yourself?

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36 Comments leave one →
  1. Kyunghye Chu permalink
    March 7, 2011 11:12 pm

    I don’t think this is true because being strict and reflecting ourselves can be a good way of being better people and we can be wiser. And also, this method can make people to care more about themselves to be healthy.

  2. Wow permalink
    March 7, 2011 11:22 pm

    Well, I think that somtimes I am hard on myself. Because I consider my works more serious than other people’s. But I will try to go easy on myself for myself. This article is so intersting. 🙂

  3. KSH permalink
    March 7, 2011 11:32 pm

    I agree on the importance of self compassion. Thinking positively about oneself may make him healthier. However, I personally think it is more important to be hard and to stay objective about oneself. For instance, unless someone gets stressed about his appearance, he may not try to work out to keep fit. So satisfied with his life, he may stop making any improvements. I think it would be the best when one has a good balance between self compassion and dissatisfaction.

  4. March 7, 2011 11:43 pm

    I wonder if there is any research on the effects of going too easy on yourself?

    • proftodd permalink*
      March 8, 2011 9:33 am

      See Charlie Sheen.

      • March 8, 2011 9:57 pm

        Right, I had a feeling you’d say that – or you’d tell me to look in the mirror 😉

      • whosthisgirl permalink
        March 8, 2011 10:11 pm

        @proftodd What happened to Charlie Sheen?
        @conor see Kanye West lolll

      • March 8, 2011 10:40 pm

        Charlie Sheen went nuts, or just brought it to the attention of the rest of the world that he was nuts.
        And as for Kanye….I think I’ll change my approach to life if that’s who I’m being associated with 😉

      • proftodd permalink*
        March 9, 2011 2:49 pm

        Charlie Sheen is an American actor who has recently been in the entertainment news as the poster boy for self-indulgence and narcissism. He could definitely use a healthy dose of honest critical self-reflection and less self-love.

  5. book permalink
    March 7, 2011 11:56 pm

    I think that self-compassion is necessary elements for more health life. Some people who lack self-compassion make themselves feel more hard mentally and physically. In my case, I am a little easy to me. So, I have little stress than other people.

  6. March 8, 2011 12:50 am

    In my case, I’m hard on myself. Because I have thought that going easy on myself will lead me to laziness.
    Partly, I agree with the research. On the aspect of diet, it is plausible. But though self-compassion may help us lose weight, it is not enough in our tough society.
    Our surroundings require us the better results; they are, sometimes, out of our own ability.
    There is no alternative but lashing myself to improve. Time and tide wait for no man.

  7. Irene permalink
    March 8, 2011 8:47 am

    I also agree that self-compassion can be one of the best ways to improve our life. When I was young, I was a person who was hard on myself to be perfect. The obsession made me frustrated easily and limited my activities because I didn’t try to do unfamiliar subject not to fail. I think self-compassion motivates people to do what they want, while self-discipline hinders challenge.

  8. Sylpid permalink
    March 8, 2011 7:01 pm

    When I think back on my self, I’m not the one who’s easy on me. I read that research and think it’ interesting. It’s true that being hard on your self gives you stress. Thinking of other people instead of me is hard. When other people sees you, you may look kind, but on the other side you’re giving much effort to be kind to them.
    After reading this, I’m interested about self-compassion. Lerning it may be give memotivation to improve myself.

  9. S.A. Lee permalink
    March 8, 2011 8:02 pm

    I think self-compassion is a good way to relax and support oneself up to some degree, but over self-compassion might become pathetic self-justfication. So ballancing between two concepts is the most important thing, I gusse. And I’ m little bit go easy on myself .

  10. Joanne permalink
    March 8, 2011 9:25 pm

    Going easy on myself is exactly what I need right now. I tend to be very supportive to others, and everyone tells me that I understands people well. Yet, I can say that I am quite hard on myself – sometimes I feel like I am a perfectionist. It is true that one should be hard on oneself for some time in order to find weaknesses and make developments, but going easy on oneself is much more important to have life that is healthy and less stressful, just like the article said. I really think I should go easy on myself..but I don’t know HOW.

  11. whosthisgirl permalink
    March 8, 2011 9:49 pm

    First of all, I was surprised that I got to see this article no sooner came on this blog for the first time. Cuz i was bbming my friend and talking about my hella low self-esteem like 5mins ago. lol yea. I’m the person who is easy on others but hard on myself. And my friends told me not to do. Cuz it makes me look unattractive. lol To be honest, I think being hard on myself is pretty bad for my mental health cuz I get stressed at myself easily and feel frustrated at myself easily, too. So..yea my friends were right! time to listen to them 🙂

  12. sososo permalink
    March 8, 2011 10:03 pm

    I agree on this result. Because In today’s our society, We are too busy and competitive . So We push ourselves so hard. I’m hard on myself to be perfect sometimes. When I thought it, it bring me down. But I think perfection is an illusion. So self-compassion is necessary. It hepls build self confidence too. I try to be easy on myself more.

  13. VeraB permalink
    March 9, 2011 11:23 am

    This article is just what my mother is always saying to me whenever I start to come down hard on myself. I am the kind of person who gives mostly moderate comments to other people’s concerns but when it comes strictly to my concern then I just give a sharp opinion. For example, I am not obese but I do not consider myself in a good shape. I am quite seriously concerned about my appearance a lot more than it has to really matter. However, I still cannot settle for who I look right now. I want to be better in shape. The way I think about myself has stressed me out for a long time. As the auther of the article said, I really need to calm down and go easy on me first now that I know not being happy with myself is not healty at all. If i keep bitching about my appearance just because I am little chubbier thatn other girls, I will keep doing it when I really lose some weight one day. I will definitely feel short of myself anyway if I really do not give me some credit for being now.
    Thanks for the sincere article!

    • veraB permalink
      March 14, 2011 11:44 am

      haha i did not know there would be a further article lol.

  14. prof_ben permalink
    March 9, 2011 3:06 pm

    one of my favorite sayings comes from Thailand. It reads : “Na na jit tung” which means “all sorts of minds” or “all sorts of tastes”. When I find that am being too hard on myself, I try to remember to find my own path, i need to take care of myself along the way.

  15. Adam Lee permalink
    March 9, 2011 9:47 pm

    i may say, i cant pretty agree with the point that poeple should learn self-compassion, at least we Chinese poeple do not need to.
    in China there’s an idom goes: ‘one should accuse himself in the way he accuses the others, and forgive poeple in the way he forgive himself’. this idom tells people should be hard to themselvs while to be patient with the others. Auctually it is true that half of the Chinese poeple always put themselves in the first place and are not very good listeners. So we can infer that Chinese poeple could be counterexamples to this report.

  16. March 9, 2011 11:52 pm

    I think self-compassion is necessary to our lives. In fact, I used to have self-depriciation and less confidence than others. This gave me endless negative thinking and deep depression. I always feel blue due to the fact that I thought my capability was lack when compare to other people. However, when I decied to change my way of thinking which means stop having self-depriciation and start being a positive and smile women. It really helps make me happy and have confidence. Therefore, adequate self-compassion will be a great catalyst to develop oneself.

  17. Ator permalink
    March 10, 2011 1:13 am

    I think self-compassion can give us positive results. In my case, although i treat other kindly, i lower my expectation about upcoming happens to me. This action conveys a relative satisfaction to me because my expectation is lower than results of happens. In my opinion, this can be sort of self-compassion. Self-compassion helps us to develope mental and physical healty. As a result, it is advisable to us to learn self-compassion.

  18. lalala permalink
    March 10, 2011 1:46 am

    This article is very interesting, but I can’t agree with it. Actually I’m really hard on me to achieve my goals. I get lots of stress everyday and sometimes I just want to get away from all the things that make me tired. But I can’t go easy on me, I think it make me become lethargic.
    Partly, I do agree that I need a break time to recharge myself. Life is endless suffering but for this reason world is worth living in…isn’t it? :-)?

  19. MIN.Y.K permalink
    March 10, 2011 4:32 pm

    This artlcle is interesting. but, self-compassion is very hard to realize. Today, people always compete in various ways. It can’t avoid. As long as I work hard, I experience some failure and feel disappointed. In addition, self-compassion may be a tool of excuses. I know positive thinking needs. but excessive self-compassion is not good effect.

  20. Youtopia permalink
    March 11, 2011 9:38 pm

    Sometimes, To have self-compassion is hard to me because of other people who are more competitive than me. However, I think that my life is mine. So, I always try to compare me to former me not to other people.

  21. Olivia permalink
    March 12, 2011 11:23 am

    Stress is very harmful to health and most of the people in these days struggle with their everyday stress. Mostly, stress usually comes from one’s mind according to their thinking or surroundings. For this reason, self -compassion can be good solution to ease off stress disease.

  22. PCE permalink
    March 13, 2011 11:35 pm

    In my opinion, self-compassion is a difficult thing especially for those who want to succeed.
    People wanting success would like to be a perfect person. So, they ‘re likely to hard on themselves. These people feel more stressful about themselves and it can be a health problem. Therefore, having self-compassion can be helpful to them.

    However, I think that self-compassion can be dangeorous to some optimistic ones.
    Self-compassion can make them an idler. As for me, I am so optimistic that I try to hard on me. I think being hard on oneself is ,at least, good to one’s mental health.

  23. Saebom Park permalink
    March 14, 2011 12:38 am

    I think that I am usually harder on myself than others because of my personality.
    I would like to be considered professional in my field enough to admire me. Because of it, I tend to be perfect at any time.
    Plus, I agree with the research in a degree. When I treated me on self-compassion, I felt quite relieved and comfortable. I guess it could be better for my health; however, I am not sure that it would give me motivation to improve myself. To be honest, I think “improve myself” is unclear because there are so many kinds of things can be improvements.

  24. HJK permalink
    March 15, 2011 10:45 pm

    In my opinion, I can’t express sympathy with research on the article. In my situation, I know some people that treat family and friends well. but they aren’t hard on themselves. of course, I surely didn’t know their mind and know that it is wrong to generalize from a single example. however, when they suffer from matters, they talk about matters to friends to solve them. and then they got optimistic shortly. so, I can’t agree the research some portion.

    • HJK permalink
      March 15, 2011 10:48 pm

      ‘when they suffer from matters’ they are some of friens that treat family and friends well.
      I forget to write it. ^^

  25. March 20, 2011 10:30 pm

    When i was in a school not university, i tried to hard on me.
    It leads to good result for university entrace exam, but makes me knock down….
    In my opinion and experiences, proper hard pressure on me is good.
    But overweight pressure makes me tired
    then, that makes us lazy in university system.
    in university system, we must do our job ourselves.
    so everyone must does their work hard properly.
    it is a important thing, i think…

  26. March 20, 2011 10:36 pm

    when i was in high school, i tried to hard myself.
    it leads to good result for my university, but makes me knock down…..
    entering to university, tired mind makes me lazy.
    but that mind is not good for university.
    in other words, university needs doing things by oneself.
    so that laziness is not needed.
    consequencely, proper hard pressure is not bad.
    but overweight pressure on me makes me bad result on health and grade(?) kk

  27. Gabriel permalink
    March 22, 2011 7:12 pm

    In my case, I’m hard on myself but easy on others. I hardly rely on other people especially if it’s about constructing your life. For an example, in boxing it’s only you who are going on the ring. Even any other people who want to help you, they could only give you advice and lead you to right derection but it’s you who is going to choose the right path and walk.

  28. Sunny permalink
    March 23, 2011 3:27 pm

    I also agree with the research’s result I am a kind of person to be hard on myself, which readily makes me stressful and tired. Truly, everyone can’t be perfect. I need to note this simple idea.

  29. Kim Soo Min permalink
    March 24, 2011 11:07 am

    This article makes me think about self-compassion deeply. I think this phenomenon appears differently. In my case, I treat my friends or family comfortable. Also I treat myself almost same way. But I have some cases that lead to me very sensitive such as health problems.

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