Last year I wrote about Being Kind – To That Special Someone.
I think in this difficult time – and in good times too, all time, really – we need to be a lot nicer to ourselves.
Use the good china. Buy yourself flowers. Take a walk and look at the trees instead of your phone.
And please, please, please –
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
I don’t understand where all the self-criticism comes from.
Why, I like myself more than I like just about everyone else. And although I can readily admit my mistakes… (well, maybe not ‘readily’, but ‘eventually’)… I am also extremely forgiving of my mistakes and shortcomings.
After all, I have to be with myself one hundred percent of the time. It’s so much easier if we don’t fight.
I see and hear people fighting with themselves all the time. Self-criticism. Discouragement. You need to get over your disappointment in just how much you let yourself down. Forgive yourself a little. I forgive myself for so much I am constantly surprised by my generosity.
“Don’t worry, you’re fine,” I reassure myself.
“Oh, you are too kind,” I answer.
For example, I just wrote that I will readily (eventually) admit my mistakes. I have found that it is much much easier to admit a mistake, and then get on with your life. At work especially – the sooner you admit to your mistake, the sooner everyone else forgets it too.
But – once in a while – I have found myself covering up a mistake. Finding an excuse (the file got corrupted) or just plain lying (I missed the deadline because I was sick). Oh, this is a terrible thing to do. But holy cow, work is hard and getting yelled at is hard and confessing to being stupid is hard. So try not to make sad excuses. But if you do, forgive your excuses as much as your mistakes.
Or sometimes you pay a bill late. Someone I know had just completed a hostile phone call informing the credit card company that the check was sent WEEKS ago, only to discover it was really six weeks ago, and that was last months’ bill. Oops. So: Apologize. Apologize to the billing person you hollered at. And then apologize to yourself. Time flies. It’s trite but it’s true. It’s so easy to think you JUST did something that you didn’t do at all.
Sometimes your standards are just too high. You have not failed as a mother if you give your kids Cheerios for supper. My mother used to say – “I can have a clean house or I can have happy kids. Sometimes I can have both. But not always.”
And it’s not only the kids eating Cheerios. We all intend to eat healthily. And sometimes we do. And sometimes we have chocolate covered caramels for breakfast. In this country, we are bombarded with food. It lures us from the cupboards. It seduces us from the refrigerator. It beckons us from the pantry. It shouts to us from the TV. Shit, even the gas station sells potato chips. Just do your best.
I just read a story a woman wrote that was filled with guilt. She bought something expensive she did not need. And came home to find her husband had lost his job. Crap, that is bad timing. But that is all it is. We all buy unnecessary shit. That’s what seems to keep the country going. You did not cause your husband to lose his job. Your purchase will not directly result in your car being repossessed. But do return it if you can. And if not, try to find real pleasure in what you bought. It may comfort you during difficult times.
My husband worries that our dog Theo is not very well behaved. Well, I suppose he isn’t. Theo’s spoiled and willful and I give in all the time. Discipline is not my forte. But when I think back to the dog I had as a kid… to the dogs we all had as kids, expectations were different. We didn’t expect a dog to spend four hours in a crate. Or stand perfectly still while a squirrel ran by him, or keep quiet when the mailman walked into our yard. (By the way, do you know that my dog can set off the house alarms if the UPS truck comes while we are not home and he barks too near the windows? We know that now. So do the police.)
Anyway, maybe you should think about your crazy dog with a different perspective. You are brave enough to have An ANIMAL living in your house and he doesn’t poop on the furniture and hasn’t eaten you yet. Pretty damn good!
I am appalled and saddened by how hard people are on themselves when they are learning something new. “I suck at this,” I heard someone in my painting class say. Really? Did she never fall down as a toddler or crash her bike? Was she fluent the first day of Spanish I? Why do people expect to be so good at something so quickly? I have been practicing Yoga since 2001. I am still in the beginner class. That’s why they call it “practice.” It’s been many years, and I may still improve, but if I don’t, then I am proud of my patience and perseverance.
To that lady in my painting class – and to everyone learning a language or learning to dance or to play a musical instrument; to teenagers learning to drive or learning a sport; to older people filling in Medicare forms: You don’t suck at it. You just don’t know how to do it. YET. You will. Don’t say “Holy Shit, I suck!” Say “Holy Shit, I have POTENTIAL!”
My Yoga practice: Tree.
I drew this several years ago, but I have improved.
My drawing, not my Yoga. But who cares? I have POTENTIAL!