Letting Yourself Off the Hook (Without Making Excuses)

There’s no time like holiday time to come down hard on ourselves. We mentally beat ourselves up by asking questions like: Did I bake enough? Did I buy enough? Did I decorate enough? Did I spread “glad tidings of joy” enough? Did I make it ‘til midnight to ring in the new year? 

Self-criticism. Self-chastisement. Self-reproach… for years and years I was the “queen” of them all! I’d focus so much on what I didn’t accomplish or how I had “dropped the ball” that I’d miss the joy of the occasion or event. 

We set ourselves up to impossible standards when we compare ourselves to others or some ideal. We judge ourselves and beat ourselves up, both verbally and mentally, and we come up short. 

Letting Ourselves Off the Hook vs. Making Excuses 

Letting yourself off the hook simply means that you recognize that you’re focusing on a mistake(s) you’ve made and you’re aware of the unreasonable mental and emotional strain you’re putting on yourself. It’s giving yourself permission to give yourself a break. 

Making excuses, on the other hand, is an explanation you give for something that went wrong (my dog ate my homework, I was too tired, I was rushed) when you shouldn’t. Making excuses can sound a lot like whining and “woe is me.” 

Be Free!

As we head into the new year. Let’s set ourselves free! Free from:

  • the need to perform ✖
  • the need for validation ✖
  • the need to please ✖
  • the need to measure up ✖
  • the need to be perfect ✖
  • the need to compare
  •  thinking you’re not enough ✖
  •  thinking you didn’t do enough ✖

It’s OK to Be Right Where You Are

Give yourself permission to be right where you. Perfectly imperfect like the rest of us. You’re a work in progress You’re under construction…just like the rest of us. 


  • Change your expectations and impossible standards ✔
  • Stop comparing ✔
  • Give yourself unlimited grace ✔
  • Know that you’re doing the best that you can (not making excuses) ✔
  • Recognize that everyone is at different stages in their life ✔
  • Believe that you are not being rated on a scale of 1-10 ✔
  • Believe that no one is keeping score ✔

3 Tips to Help You Let Yourself Off the Hook

Here are some things you can do to be kinder and gentler to yourself:

  1. Write it Out. Write down the expectations that you’re holding yourself hostage to. Go back through your calendar to help jog your memory. Get clear on what the expectations are. See them for the impossible standards that they are. Now that you recognize them use affirmations to help you banish them from your life. “I’m not perfect. I’m a work in progress. I’m doing the best I can at the present moment.
  2. Create an evidence file. You’ve done some pretty incredible things in your life. Starting back as far as you can begin writing out the awesome things you’ve done. Graduated from high school. Graduated from college. Got married. Had children. Got a raise. Was generous with your time. Got physically fit. Bought a house. Paid off a car. Volunteered your time. Look at the positive evidence you’ve come up with. See all the great things you have done and be proud of yourself!
  3. Be Your Own Friend Begin relating to yourself like you would a best friend. Would you berate a friend for not meeting your expectations? Would you pick a friend apart and find fault after fault with them? 

Friend, when you’re hard on yourself you’re not fully living. Have grace for yourself. No one is perfect. You’re right where you should be. A work-in-progress. Messy, but not messed up…just like the rest of us. 


Questions to think about

  • What would it feel like to just be OK with being where you are right now while knowing that you’re doing your best?
  • How would your life be different?
  • What would this change in perspective do to your relationships?
  • What would your outlook on life be?

Leave a comment and share. I’d love to know your answers. 


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2 thoughts on “Letting Yourself Off the Hook (Without Making Excuses)”

  1. I love this so much, Lynn! I have found myself feeling betrayed in a friendship with a family member. I needed these reminders to be true to myself and know I am doing my best.


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