Are you often hard on yourself? Do you feel like you need to have a certain image of yourself, even though you know you shouldn’t?
It can be difficult feeling this way. But in order to address this situation, there’s no better way to improve than to shift the way you see yourself.
Here are things you need to stop expecting for yourself.
1. Always be happy
Do you have the constant need to feel happy? Do you often feel pleasure reaching goals, like winning an award, but end up feeling lukewarm again just a short time after?
The continual search for pleasure is often an impossible task.
The Hedonic treadmill theory states that your level of pleasure will eventually go back to the baseline after some time.
However, if there are sentimental feelings attached to these memories, they tend to last longer compared to short-term pleasures.
Often, the happiest people are those who know how to appreciate the simplest pleasures. They frequently engage in meaningful activities that give them a sense of purpose.
It doesn’t have to be anything grand. Do you have something (or someone) that makes you feel that way in life?
2. Always be perfect
Do you feel the need to be the best in front of others?
While this is understandable if you’re a professional, being overcritical of yourself can cause severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.
According to a study conducted by Curran and Hill, self-oriented perfectionism, in particular, can be linked to higher rates of premature death among young people.
Instead of being overcritical of yourself, accept your weaknesses and flaws with gentle compassion. With every flaw you have, there’s room for growth that’s only achievable if you take action.
3. Non-stop productivity
Do you feel guilty when you rest?
The world can be fast-paced, and it almost feels like there’s a silent yet pervasive pressure to perform to keep up with it.
But when you ignore your own well-being, you can suffer adverse effects like stress and burnout. In fact, according to a Stanford research paper, working 70 hour weeks produces almost the same results as working 56-hour weeks – highlighting that there’s little variance in the effort you put in terms of productivity.
Instead, it’s beneficial to work smart and use your time effectively. Let your body learn how to rest; take a warm bath, read a good book, or stroll the park every once in a while. Your body definitely deserves it.
4. Other’s goals for you
Do you feel pressured to perform up to societal standards? Do you feel like you have no other choice but to fulfill your parent’s wishes – even if you don’t wholeheartedly agree with them?
Society can put pressure on every individual to fit the mold.
Taking on other people’s opinions and making them your own, on the other hand, may have unpleasant results for you in the long run. A study by Tennant and Hsee proves that obtaining an item or achieving a goal others impose on you does not provide the same satisfaction as pursuing your own desires.
You have to think about what makes you happy. And it’s okay if your choices aren’t the same as those who love and care for you – never stop working toward them anyway!
5. To be on good terms with everyone
Do you feel like you have to be on good terms with everyone?
The world houses billions of people with different personalities. With all the complex dynamics that form a community and group, there’s rarely ever going to be someone who’ll get along perfectly with anyone. And that’s okay.
If someone doesn’t like you, don’t get hung up by it and think it’s your fault.
Chances are, you’ll meet new people who’ll be worth the effort. And if not, well…you take comfort knowing that there are still others who care for you.
6. You can do things alone
Do you find it hard to deal with people’s shortcomings, and feel like you’re better off doing everything by yourself?
When you’re alone, you may feel less stressed since you don’t have to worry about other people. You can even find yourself in a very productive state of mind when nobody else is around.
But that doesn’t mean that you should completely cut yourself off from asking for help when you feel stuck.
Communicating with others can be a major help. While you may be the best at one thing, you’re always going to be a beginner at something else. And in order to grow, asking for help from someone else can give you that avenue to improve yourself and accomplish more things.
It’s important to let go of your vulnerabilities of rejection to blossom. While negative past experiences with others can mold your feelings toward others, there’s little to gain keeping everything to yourself.
Do you find yourself having any of the traits above? Did we miss anything that should be mentioned?
Feel free to comment your thoughts on the comments section below. That’s all for now, Psych2Goers!
Stanborough, R. October 2, 2020. What to Know About the Hedonic Treadmill and Your Happiness. Healthline. Retrieved at https://www.healthline.com/health/hedonic-treadmill
Curran and Hill (2016) Perfectionism Is Increasing Over Time: A Meta-Analysis of Birth Cohort Differences From 1989 to 2016. Retrieved at https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/bul-bul0000138.pdf
Sandoiu, A. (October 12, 2018) How perfectionism affects your (mental) health. Retrieved at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323323#Living-with-a-harsh-inner-voice
Pencavel, J. (April 2014) The Productivity of Working Hours. Stanford. Retrieved at https://ftp.iza.org/dp8129.pdf
Tennant & Hsee. 2017. Hedonic nondurability revisited: A case for two types. Retrieved at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29251988/