“There is luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.” — Oscar Wilde
Just as we don’t have the right to judge someone else, we don’t have the right to judge ourselves. Our unhealthy script in the past was that when we did something we felt ashamed of, we judged ourselves guilty. All too often, we then punished ourselves. Was that behavior an expression of our shame and sadness because of our defects? Punishing ourselves won’t stop our unhealthy behaviors; loving ourselves will.
We are grateful that our growth in our emotional health has taught us the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt lets us feel remorse and sadness when our actions violate our values. Guilt helps us know when we’ve acted badly; shame tells us we are bad. Guilt gives us a way back to ourselves through making amends; shame leaves us hopeless. To give in to shame and self-hatred only harms us and intensifies the power of our unhealthy behaviors. There is a better way, and that’s to learn to love us.
- Guilt’s end. (charioteers.org)
- Pain and Suffering (psychologytoday.com)
- Guilt Be Gone! (companionsoflyme.wordpress.com)
“If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” — G.K. Chesterton
Ever turn a proverb upside down? In “Way of All Flesh” by Samuel Butler, Ernest was annoyed and surprised at his parents for wanting him to be more religious all his life, and when he did, they were still not satisfied. He said to himself that a prophet was not without honors save in his own country, but he had gotten into an odious habit of turning proverbs upside down, and it occurred to him that a country is sometimes not without honor save for its own prophet.
It helps sometimes, to see what happens. Many of us are brought up to believe that we have to do, excel, finish first, get on the team, do a good job, see it through, get it done on time, say it right, get ahead, and on and on, better and better as we go. Why? Maybe that’s the way Dad did it; and Grandma did it and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.
And then, inevitably, we’d fail or fall. So we’d turn back on ourselves in shame, beat ourselves up, maybe turn to alcohol or drugs or some other addiction. If we were failures in public, then many of us would make up our own private world where failure doesn’t exist. In this little world fantasy ruled, and in fantasy there are only successes; everybody scores
But I have come to know that it doesn’t have to be so. We can break the spell and stop beating ourselves, and get away from Father’s angry voice or that disappointed look on Mother’s face. We can do things at our own speed, in our own unique way, on our own timeline, just for the joy of doing them.
- Procrastination (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Perfectionism (converstations.com)
- 8 Ways To Pitch Perfectionism (psychcentral.com)
“Without discipline, there’s no life at all.” –Katharine Hepburn
I have deadlines in my life that I must meet. Don’t we all? There are bills to pay, appointments to make, responsibilities at work or home, kids, pets, school and all the innumerable small markers that push life forward.
When I realize that I’m procrastinating I need to be committed to not shaming myself. Procrastination does not indicate failure. How realistic would it be if we looked forward to doing unpleasant things? It’s human to avoid what we’d rather not be doing.
I find that as I free myself from the burden of perfectionism, I’m free to better accept my responsibilities. Meeting deadlines as well as we can, one at a time, has a pay off in serenity and manageability of life. When we’re crisis ridden, we’re forced to live by other individual’s demands, rather than our own choices.
So, in the face of procrastination, forgive yourself, laugh at yourself, live fully in the present and keep going. After all, tomorrow can be better than yesterday.
- Procrastination and the Perfectionism Myth (psychologytoday.com)
- Resolve to end to Procrastination (gregghake.com)
- Games People Play… at Work (psychologytoday.com)
“There is no humiliation for humility.” — Joseph Roux
When I was young I can remember going to someone for help, only to be met by coldness. This happened often as I recall. The adults that participated in this horrible form of neglect were my parents, grandparents and even aunts and uncles. Compound this generalized lack of concern with friends mocking me when I tried to open to them. As if I even need one more of these emotional whammies, I can’t leave this one out: I was taken advantage of because I was sensitive and vulnerable. In short, I felt humiliated when I wanted to open up. So, what did I do? Well I resolved not to let myself be open and dependent. I closed myself off from others and became grandiose in my belief that I could go it alone.
Now, at this point in my life and personal growth, I am slowly learning to be humble. I have come to realize that nobody is an island, cut off from the world. I don’t know all the answers. I need the help of those who really do want to reach out to me.
It’s hard to be humble when I was so often humiliated, but I have to risk again reaching out to others; the rewards I have come to find out, are amazing! And it is wonderful to not be alone. I know that as an adult, I don’t have to keep on feeling humiliated. Being humble is a sign of strength, not of weakness. Now, I experience new power in my relationships with others.
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” – Prov. 17:22
When I am gloomy and melancholy I seem to walk around in a black cloud. I find that I attract other disheartened people to me and soon it’s as if we are marching along in a funeral procession.
To be permanently gloomy seems an insult to life. After all, there are many people who are worse off than I am, and yet they manage to find the energy and love to reach out and express joy. Why then, should I coexist in the gloomy minority?
Often, I find that my thoughts dictate my mood. Most vividly, I recall the gloom that appeared when I used to do a great deal of acting out, leading a double life with half of it rooted in fear and shame. It’s no wonder that I was “down”, and that I sometimes still carry this habit and attitude with me now, along my path of personal and spiritual growth.
Part of my growth is in the regaining of a sense of happiness that reaches into the deepest part of me. I can hear myself laugh and learn to play. What a tonic it is, to be happy! Joy is a vital part of life and I want to feel it deep inside me and bring to my face a smile!
- Joe Robinson: The Secret Key to Happiness (huffingtonpost.com)
- Personal Growth (retrohousewifegoesgreen.com)
- “It Really Is Just So Much Easier To Be Who You Are.” (happiness-project.com)
“Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” — Marie Ebner von Eschenbach
One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is forgiveness. When we remember the past, we often find we were much harder on ourselves than we were on other people. We may no longer even remember some of our misdeeds, but it’s not so easy to erase the effects of self-punishment on our identity and self-esteem.
There is no need for us to punish ourselves. We can apologize to ourselves, just as we do to others. Then, we can forgive ourselves just as we do to others, and just as we are forgiven by them.
When we find it hard to forgive ourselves and let go, there are actions we can take: Reach out to someone, or try to find the real feelings beneath the urge to be so hard on ourselves. We can still be honest and choose gentleness. We can also keep our perspective, seeing things realistically and not creating a catastrophe where there is none. We can turn to the Universe, asking for a higher forgiveness and be assured of the Universe’s understanding and love.