I’m very hard on myself.
This is something that those who have not known me for very long may not be aware of. I’m self-critical, obsessive, and struggle to give myself apologies or excuses.
It’s because I’m something of a perfectionist, I’ve been told. This kind of severe attitude doesn’t generally extend to my friends, acquaintances and colleagues, much to the initial confusion and surprise of my psychologist.
I was told to mentally put myself in a situation where one such person, perhaps someone I love, or even someone I don’t know very well, has done me wrong in some manner. Someone might be late to meet me. They might have forgotten to tell me something important that.
Whatever the circumstance, I had to ask myself – what was the right reaction? More importantly, perhaps, what was my reaction?
If someone is late, it’s fair to say that these things happen. Their lateness doesn’t immediately make them a bad person. If someone is forgetful, they have exhibited only a human flaw. It is rare to find people with anything close to a perfect memory.
So why the negativity against myself? It’s a question I’ve been struggling with a little these past weeks. I’m ready to give others a free pass where I cannot excuse myself. My psych told me that my friends would not hang around with me if I treated them the way I treat myself.
Okay. That’s an eye-opener.
It’s hard to be friends with someone who can never forgive you, no matter what you do, for they are by necessity a hypocrite. We are all flawed and imperfect, and someone who cannot permit that in others will by necessity refuse to see such weakness in themselves.
So it’s no wonder I’ve been struggling with that age-old challenge to love myself. Don’t get me wrong, I do care for myself in many ways. I exercise and mostly eat well. I spend time de-stressing when I need it (though maybe not nearly as often as I should).
At the end of the day, my attitude would make it impossible to have very many friends if I directed it against others. It’s no wonder I’m having a hard time being friendly towards myself.
This is a slightly short post today, because I only really had a short message. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned (or, rather, am in the process of learning) is to care for myself. Each day gives us a plate of food, from which we can choose to share. Self-care is not about overfilling the plate with useless and silly things, but rather making sure that our plate does not run out.
In that vein, I should permit myself to take a little of the good things in life sometimes. Rather than throwing my plate away, or giving away whatever I can, or even refusing to take more when my plate is dangerous close to empty, I can think about how important it is to be a good friend to myself.