Everybody falls prey to this once in a while, we beat ourselves up for acting foolishly or for not doing something that later we regret and wish we had. We can be hard on ourselves and tell ourselves to smarten up, to get it together, even to not be so stupid! And if we’re not diligent before we know it we’re on a slippery slope of negative self talk, turning a back on ourselves, to be abandoned to the wolves.
Last week I fell into that trap; it insidiously got a choke hold and squeezed out my level-headed, glass half full nature all together. As the day progressed I began to berate ALL my life choices, and all the things I had set out to accomplish but didn’t quite complete; the things I could have been and done had I not lacked courage and confidence.
Then I scolded myself for lacking courage and confidence!
I was so disgusted in my credulity. I was disappointed in thinking myself not intelligent, clever, talented, socially cool enough, not achieving enough. I even compared myself to other women friends going back over 30 years ago and reprimanded myself for not being the Wonder Woman like they had been, juggling child/home/relationships while pursuing career with focus, tenacity and…oh yeah, COURAGE and CONFIDENCE!
OMG, it was like being on a waterside except I wasn’t squealing in glee towards a lovely warm pool but more into a frigid abyss of self-deprecation and feelings of inferiority!
In a sense I took myself to a back alley and beat the stuffing out of myself.
I don’t know how I had let myself succumb to such low blows, and I wasn’t wallowing in self-pity, I was pissed off at myself! I reprimanded myself for all the things I didn’t fight hard enough for, then once more with twice the passion for not fighting even harder for myself and what I wanted to fulfill in my life. I railed against every misstep, character flaw, and opportunity lost through my entire life up to now! Sure I’ve confronted these same self doubts before but this time it was so much more. Hey, I’ve done some grand and yes courageous things that I’m proud of and I’ve shown confidence many, many times too. Why would I discount that then? Why was this so intense this time, why discredit myself so harshly? I wasn’t making any attempt to rescue myself from myself!
After a few days and having regained my composure I had to acknowledge the real fault was in my perspective and attitude when I lambasted my perceived shortcomings. We all want to be the best of ourselves at all times, to make precisely correct fitting choices, to always take the right roads in our lives. To be confident and courageous in all our decisions and conduct. What we want is perfection.
So instead of harsh self-criticism perhaps self compassion is the key here. To acknowledge the journey was and will continue to be bumpy in places, to know there will be gaps and holes in the pursuit of goals and expectations. The message for me here is to forgive myself for being imperfect, recognize the good stuff I do do (haha) and get realigned with my core values and celebrate my brilliant imperfection!
Ok, this is good, now it’s getting exciting, I like this water slide much better!