The saying, “You are your own worst critic,” is true all too frequently. Many of us are often hard on ourselves, especially when it comes to performing in areas of life that are important to us. And unlike the old saying about sticks and stones, words do hurt—especially when they come from within. So, rather than doing more harm than good, we’re sharing ways to start giving yourself grace!

Check-in with yourself.

A person in an orange checkered shirt writes in a small red journal.

Giving yourself grace starts with knowing your place. If you’re not sure where you are mentally and emotionally, it’s time for a check-in. You may need to give yourself grace if you do the following:

  • Hold on to every mistake (even the small ones). 
  • Talk down on yourself. 
  • Give others forgiveness but can’t allow yourself the same kindness. 
  • Beat yourself up when you fail but others are trying to lift you back up. 
  • Perpetually assume a negative self-image.

After determining where you’re at, it’s time to level with yourself. Realize that if you do any or all of these things, there’s room to grow. From this moment on, show yourself kindness, forgiveness, and love. These are the only factors that will heal you and help you move forward.

Why is giving yourself grace so important?

Being able to forgive yourself and let go of mistakes is crucial for a number of reasons. It allows you to move forward and not get stuck in the same cycle. Grace helps you remember that you’re human—mistakes and failures will happen. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can use them to learn and grow. It’s also a reminder that some things are simply out of your control. But a lot more are in your control.

Giving yourself grace will ensure that you don’t do further damage to your self-image or lower your standards for the grace that you allow others. Remember, if your negative attitude lasts long enough, it can have an adverse effect on the people around you too.

Learn how to start giving yourself grace.

Felt letters of various colors lay on a burlap cloth and spell the word “forgive.”

If you’ve done your self-check-in and found that you could be kinder to yourself, we’re going to assume you might need some help with that. These 10 tips will help you get started:

  • Eliminate negative self-talk and replace it with a positive thought. Instead of, “I’m not going to get any better at this,” think, “I’ll give it another try.”
  • Remember that your best is enough. 
  • Perfection does not exist, so stop aiming for it and start aiming for progress. 
  • Learn how to say, “Not now,” when you’re not ready, and “Yes,” when you are. (In other words, don’t over-extend yourself.) 
  • Look at the lesson, the bright side, or the funny side of an unfortunate situation. 
  • Compete against yourself, not others. 
  • All wins should be celebrated (even small ones). 
  • Instead of beating yourself up for a mistake, apologize for it. You deserve to give yourself a chance at being forgiven.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for who and what you do have.
  • Regularly compliment yourself on an area of weakness.

Stick to the 10 points above, and you’ll begin healing in no time. Then, you’ll be able to not only give yourself grace but understand the importance of doing so. You’ll see the benefits and improvements that come with it, and it may even affect the amount of grace you give to others!

The last piece of advice.

A glass sphere reflects the scene behind it.

Giving yourself grace is a growth journey. On it, you’ll need to recognize your ups and downs and reflect on them. You’ll need to be honest with yourself. And you’ll benefit most from remembering this: perspective. When you’re having a rough time, take a minute to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. Look at your whole life, not just this one day, and realize that it’s good. A singular bad day doesn’t mean you’re doing it all wrong. In fact, some days you can do everything right and still come up at a loss. Stay strong and keep giving yourself grace. It will be okay.

Another way to allow yourself a break is to start recognizing that there are positives to making mistakes. For example, if you make a mistake, learn from it! Then, share your story! Sharing your mistakes with others will help them avoid making the same ones!