Reflecting with fellow freelancers as part of a recent networking get-together, we all shared and identified that we're really self-critical and unforgiving of ourselves when we get things wrong - yet are often far more understanding and accepting of others when they do...
My idea about the usual way we can reconcile this, is to do with our not being part of regular teams (in the ways that our salaried counterparts are) - in not having access to appraisals, regular training activities, or all of the other ongoing feedback that can come on a daily basis in micro interactions, we're lacking the perspective to make more sense of our own experiences. And we're more tolerant of others because we don't have the job security our salaried counterparts have, so are more concerned to maintain and protect relationships with have with clients.
But I think there's actually something else that's equally, if not more, important in understanding this apparent contradiction: because we're not part of a regular team/workplace, we don't get to see all the mistakes other people make everyday that they're either getting away with, or turn out not to be that much of a problem after all.
Without the openness about mistakes and failures, we surely risk entrenching ourselves in echo chambers of our own mistakes - with no recourse to judge how far our errors and lapses really are that 'bad' in comparison to other peoples', we'll increasingly and unnecessarily chastise ourselves to our own detriment?