This was a very hard thing for me to learn. Somehow I had deeply absorbed the idea that being excessively harsh and critical of myself was part of being a good person. But while struggling to overcome a serious bout of depression, learning this lesson became a matter of life and death. For a while I would force myself to write down a list of everything I did that was at all positive each day without criticism or commentary. When things went wrong before berating myself, I would stop and ask myself, “what would I say to a friend in this situation?” If I were beating myself up because I had done or said something which was met with disapproval, I would stop and ask myself if my actions were something I would get upset with someone else over. Pretty much always the answer was no, so I decided that I wouldn’t apply the standards of the most negative, judgemental and intolerant people I run into to myself. Thankfully, it’s gotten easier as time goes on.
So if you tend to be too hard on yourself, remember: be nice applies to how you treat everyone – even you!