Today, I discuss how to reduce self-attack.

Table of Contents

What Is Self-Attack?

self-improvement self-attack | disappointed woman lying on grass

You can never be perfect. Thus, you will always have something about yourself to attack.

Self-attack is thinking insulting, abrasive, and irrational thoughts about oneself. The abusive and irrational nature is what separates self-attack from self-criticism.

Individuals self-attack because we innately despise our inability to be perfect. We have an ideal version of ourselves in mind. And every day, you fail to be as patient, strong-willed, and capable as your perfect self.

The more you seek self-improvement, the more you will attack yourself. You will meet every inch of progress with taunts such as “you should have done this sooner” or “you’ll never accomplish everything you want.” As you improve as an individual, you’ll always want more. This desire for more manifests itself as the ideal or a state of perfection you can not reach. Thus, you will feel discouraged, and this discouragement takes the form of self-attack.

The Two Best Ways To Reduce Self-Attack

be virtuous be happy | woman smiling

You are not perfect. However, you can be virtuous.

Self-attack is useless because it is irrational and abusive. There is a difference between “you’re a failure who’ll never succeed” and “you’ve worked well today but could improve here.” What we want to do is remove the former voice, so the latter advice shines through.

Therefore, we will explore the two best ways to reduce self-attack.

1) Always have goals and track your progress

goals | typewriter

Goals define your life and help prevent distraction and fear.

You must have life, long-term and short-term goals. If you do not have plans, then you will not know where to aim. When you do not know where your actions should be directed, doubt increases. Once you are inundated with doubt, self-attacks will drown you.

A life without purpose is easy to destroy and tear apart. When you’ve set your goals, focus on tracking your progress. Seeing how far you’ve come in your life will keep you inspired. Therefore, set goals to track whether by effort contributed, time involved, numbers hit, and so on.

Remember, self-attack comes from failing to be perfect. Having goals shows you are living the best life you can. When you accomplish meaningful goals, you move closer to your ideal self. Even though you cannot reach it, moving closer to your perfect self shows your commitment to what is true and virtuous. Such commitment builds confidence, pride, and everything you need to argue against self-attack.

2) Be honest with yourself at all times

never lie | woman with fingers crossed

Never lie. If you fall victim to a vice or fail to help others, then be honest. Lying to yourself and others only makes you weak.

The second step is honesty with yourself. Are you truly giving your all? Could you better plan out your day? Are you purposefully wasting time? Are you scared of improvement? And so on.

Asking questions at all times, writing down your thoughts, reflecting on the virtues, chronicling your failures and fears – these are the steps necessary to ensure you are honest.

And when you are honest, self-attack is harder. Why? Because your reason cuts through the emotional nonsense at the heart of self-attack. Remember, that self-attack is irrational. Honesty in your perceptions and actions produces rational pride. This rational pride protects you against self-attack because you can reference your past behavior as evidence of your self-improvement. You are not perfect, but you are succeeding with what you have.

Practice honesty by acting virtuously and giving everything you have towards the accomplishment of your goals.

You Will Defeat The Voice That Wishes To Tear You Down

Win every battle against yourself | boy screaming into mic

Self-attack is inevitable. But you can win every battle.

“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.” – Ayn Rand

You will always attack yourself, fail to live up to the ideal, and feel discouraged. This is human.

But you can push back. Self-attack is vicious, but the stronger you are, the better you can survive those moments of intense depression, frustration, or doubt.

Therefore, practice the virtues. Be honest with yourself. Track your goals and fight like hell to accomplish them. Remove yourself from the modern world and do everything you can to remain physically healthy.

And when you’ve done all these things and still feel terrible? Practice patience with yourself and be grateful for your efforts.

The world needs more heroes. And you can’t help the world if you’re attacking yourself.

Reading List


Dr. Peterson is popular because he urges the individual to solve problems within her own life before looking outward. 12 Rules of Life will give you the foundational pieces you need to achieve happiness. By becoming disciplined, responsible, and capable, you will find it harder and harder to attack yourself.


Atomic Habits covers how to build better habits and eliminate bad ones. Through this book, you’ll improve 1% every day and become the individual you’ve always wanted to be. If you can improve every day, you lose reasons to attack yourself.


  1. What is one behavior you engage in that you do not like? Why do you engage in it? Is it possible to stop?
  2. Why do you attack yourself? Are there behaviors you can change that would help reduce the self-attack?
  3. Do you have goals? Write down the things you’d like to accomplish today, next week, and next year.
  4. Are you healthy? Make a commitment to become more active. Start with home workouts and expand from there.

Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.

*Image credit to Unsplash.