For many years, I was friends with a woman who was funny, smart and interesting. She was also extremely critical. I never quite knew when this critical part of her would come out. It might be after having a nice lunch, or talk on the phone, but several days later, I’d receive a letter or phone message saying that she was very upset about something that I said or had done (or didn’t say or do). Many times, I had no idea what she was talking about, so I’d be scrambling mentally to figure it out…feeling terrible. Eventually I let the relationship go. It was just too tiring.
What I also came to see, is that the most relentlessly tiring and critical people were cupcakes compared to the one that lived inside my own head. …talk about never getting a break! If constant self-criticism worked, many of us would be perfect beyond measure, but it doesn’t. I cannot mentally beat myself into being “better” and neither can you. Incessantly looking for defects, just magnifies what is not right, and makes us feel perpetually inferior, afraid and insecure.
If we don’t like this quality in our friendships, why do we accept it in ourselves?
How about taking this weekend to refuse to think critically about yourself? Just for 2 days, treat yourself like you treat your best friend.
We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. Carl Jung
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The day after Christmas...a good morning to all
Good morning everyone. I am imagining that we all have some stories to tell today! I went to bed at 6:45 and slept until 7 a.m., and that is why this post is so late in coming out.
I could see some progress in myself this year; in how I felt about “mistakes”, that in the past would have emotionally floored me. Saturday night, after we returned home from my brother’s party, and ate another big dinner, I recommended that we watch, Home for the Holidays, (with Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr.). I happen to think that this movie is a hoot. The family is nuts and incredibly dysfunctional, but it is all somehow ok in the end.
Nobody here liked it. My son Matt thought it was depressing. Jack, who has watched it every year with me, finally admitted that he has never really liked the character that Robert Downey Jr. plays. Then my son Tom said, “Well, I couldn’t relate to it.” After the temporary deflated feeling of guilt, for making everyone watch a depressing movie on Christmas Eve, I realized that it really was a huge compliment. My holidays, as a child, were fraught with anxiety and tension. The household portrayed in this movie would have been a step up for me. My children couldn’t identify with the craziness. They actually like coming here for Christmas and holidays.
I decided to focus on this, instead of what I didn’t do right. There is always a kernel of good, of light, of Spirit in every dark, difficult situation. I can feel that when I choose to turn away from the negative, self-condemning and critical thoughts, and to look for the good, that the positive feelings and experiences will start to grow too, I will begin to feel better, and life will respond in kind.
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping-stone to greatness.” Oprah Winfrey
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