Maya Hardin: A Negative Outlook

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It may seem standard for us to be hard on ourselves and expect perfection but after one experience, Maya Hardin shares a story about how she learned balance.

Are you easy on yourself? Do you let yourself off the hook before even trying that hard? Or, instead, are you hard on yourself?

I definitely was. I thought that if I expected something bad to happen, if I was hard on myself, then I wouldn’t get disappointed if something bad does happen. And if that bad thing doesn’t happen, then I would be pleasantly surprised and happy that something good happened. This worked, for a while. Until one time. I was waiting for the next morning when I would take the dreaded math test that no one was looking forward to. As always, I was super hard on myself and somehow, for some reason, I expected the worst. And, low and behold, the worst happened. I didn’t pass.

The night before, I kept myself up; the answers to various math equations circling around my head. ‘The square root of 64 is 8… the decimal form of ⅖ is 0.4…’ “You know this stuff,” I said to myself. “You can get it right. You have to.” In this instance, instead of thinking positively, like I should have, I was thinking negatively about the math test coming up in the day ahead. That's how I thought for a long time. Being hard on myself may have been a good thing at times, like if I push myself to be the best I could be, then I will end up being successful.

However, when being hard on yourself means you start belittling yourself and anticipating the worst, then it becomes a problem. Being hard on yourself is not always the way to go. Although, being easy on yourself isn’t exactly great either. Both can have positive and negative effects on your life.


Through my personal experience, I have learned that maybe being hard on myself isn’t always the better option considering my choices. Especially when it means working for countless hours trying to be the best. I invite people to find common ground between these two ways of thinking. Even though this may be hard at times, it is possible. I found some common ground to enhance my outlook on life. It might be difficult at times, but it’s certainly worth it.

With a Perspective, I’m Maya Hardin.

Maya Hardin is an eighth-grader at Herman Intermediate School in San Jose. Her piece was produced with free curriculum from KQED’s Perspectives Youth Media Challenge.