Do you look at yourself with eyes of compassion and caring, or with eyes of judgement and impatience? Why is it that we so often judge ourselves much more harshly than we judge others?

Have you ever watched little children learn something new? Their faces and their whole way of being show their absolute delight in themselves! What about a little girl dressed up as a princess, who comes into the room to show the grown-ups how glorious she looks? Her head is up and shoulders are back, and there is a glowing smile on her face! She has no doubt that she’s completely amazing!
When do we lose that excitement about ourselves? I’m not suggesting that we retain the self-focus of early childhood, but I think it’s sad that many people move so far away that they become super critical about their actions and even their very being. So many people are staggering under the weight of shame and guilt over very minor infractions.
I love working with my Santa Barbara clients to help them see themselves with much kinder eyes! A few weeks ago, I joined Twitter (You can follow CounselingSB). Today, I asked the Twitter community: “Why do people judge themselves so much harsher than they judge others?” A man replied to me that it was because it was human nature. That may be minimally true, but I think it’s mostly something that we’ve learned to do through hurtful life experiences. I, also, believe that it can be changed.
Are you hard on yourself? Do you hold yourself to a much higher standard than all others? Are you empathetic and compassionate toward everyone but yourself? Why? Why aren’t you able to look at yourself in the mirror, or in your mind’s eye, and see yourself with loving eyes? Would you talk to anyone else the way you talk to yourself? I don’t think so!
Please recognize that being so harsh with yourself creates stress and unhappiness. You can’t be your best you when you are constantly putting yourself down. Build an awareness of your unkindness to yourself, and begin the process of change. This isn’t an easy task, but it is do-able over time. Ask for help from the emotionally safe people closest to you. Call a therapist in your area and get some professional help. Get empowered to make changes! Your future can be better than your past.
Until next time,


  • You’re welcome, Brian. I’m going to be writing a Part 2 in a few days. Stay tuned. This is such an important topic. Self-criticism and harshness are causing so much stress for people and taking energy that could be used much more productively.
    Be well,

  • You hit the nail on the head, Linda. As women, we tend to feel a lot of pressure to live up to a certain ideal set by our society. More times than I care to admit, I set higher standards for myself than I do for others. Thank goodness I’m a work in progress. As we learn to be gentler with ourselves, we will probably become even more compassionate toward others. Thanks for your encouraging spirit!

    Renee Ludwigs
    Palm Canyon Wellness Group

  • Thank you for your comment and for your kind words, Renee. I agree with you that when we “learn to be gentler with ourselves, we will probably become even more compassionate toward others.” The wonderful thing is that everyone can benefit by viewing ourselves with kinder eyes. Isn’t it a blessing that we are all still growing in wisdom and self-knowledge!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *