My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Being too hard on myself

on November 21, 2012

We all have that moment when we could just kick ourselves for something we did or didn’t do; we yell at ourselves for mistakes made; we criticize ourselves for not working hard enough. Okay, maybe not everyone, but I would say the majority of us have a moment like that. My problem is I’m like more often than not. My friend Edel recently told me that I’m way too hard on myself. And I can’t disagree. I know this about myself. And yet I can’t seem to stop, can’t seem to cut myself a break. This especially applies to my workouts. I get frustrated easily. If I don’t think I’m doing something well enough, I get mad at myself. When I don’t think I’m giving everything I have, I yell at myself. If I’m not doing something as well as I think I should, I get upset. I can feel the frustration building. I try hard not to, but it’s there. And I can’t seem to stop it from coming on. Tyler and I have worked together long enough that I think he can see it as easily as I can, maybe more so. He tries to talk me out of the frustration, and sometimes it works. He has a great ability to calm me down when all I want to do is scream or yell or cry. He can convince me to keep going when all I want to do is give up. My friend Jeff does that too. And I have other friends who are pretty good at it as well — Chase, Mike, Edel, Sarah, Carrie, and Sheri just to name a few.

So where did this problem come from? How long have I been doing this to myself? Well, I think it stems from low self-esteem and feeling like I’m not good enough. And being a little bit of a perfectionist. And I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. When I look back, I can identify times I did this as far back as grade 4. I don’t do it in every aspect of my life, but there always seems to be a few areas that it applies to.

So the big question is how do I stop? How do I learn to get myself some slack, go easier on myself, learn I don’t have to be perfect? Good questions. And the answer is I don’t know. I really don’t. I don’t know how to tell myself that it’s okay and to just keep trying. I don’t know how to say calm down, just breathe. My friend Nick sent me a you tube link for a skit from an episode of Madtv. It stars Bob Newhart as a therapist who tells his patient to “stop it”. It’s good advice. And I’m trying to follow it, but it’s not easy. I’m trying to undo decades of learned behavior. I realize it won’t happen overnight, but at some point it has to get easier, right? At least I hope so. If it doesn’t, I think I may go crazy.

So what’s your advice? How do I stop being a perfectionist? What do I need to do to cut myself some slack? I can use all the advice/help I can get with this one.

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