Getting Over the Hump (Or, Learning Not to Beat Ourselves Up for Not Being Perfect)

Getting Over the Hump (Or, Learning Not to Beat Ourselves Up for Not Being Perfect)

Posted by Joseph Linscott on

It’s February, and if you’re like us, that means you already have a list of resolutions and New Year’s changes that you didn’t end up following or keeping up with. (Case in point: It’s January 3rd as I start working on this post, and despite my resolution to not eat sugary, processed grocery store desserts, I have eaten three brookies from Shaw’s today.)

It’s hard.  We have so much on our plates (because, you know, we keep piling more stuff on). But we’re not here to talk about our propensity for taking on too many things — we’re here to talk about learning to give yourself more grace when you have bitten off more than you can chew, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, or you realize that you have to reevaluate all those grand plans you made when you were riding a high of a single glass of champagne and the promise of a fresh start.

So, yes. Give yourself grace.

Amy hates this phrase. I hate it, too. There are so many of these types of “self help” and “self Love” mantras that get tossed around like candy on Halloween (mmm… candy). Oftentimes, it feels like people only use these to reinforce their own shitty behavior, or to blame others for the ways that their life is going wrong.

So let me clarify: give yourself some grace — new habits are hard. If they weren’t, there wouldn’t be literally thousands of books on it, many of which sell in stupid numbers. But I digress. Give yourself some grace, but also learn to recognize the difference between that and making excuses for yourself.

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Imagine yourself holding the flashlight for your father as he’s trying to fix something under the sink — but you are both the person holding the flashlight and the person fixing whatever it is that’s wrong under the sink. Understand that you are going to shake with the flashlight, but that’s okay. But also, understand that if the flashlight shakes, the best thing to do is to NOT yell at the flashlight holder (which is also you) because that will only make them more anxious about holding it wrong, and then you’re only going to hold the flashlight worse and the problem under the sink will never get fixed.

What I’m really trying to say, albeit with a VERY muddled analogy, is to be empathetic with yourself, but don’t let that lead to babying yourself.

Don’t punish yourself for eating three brookies in one sitting — but also, if doing that is not aligned with your goals, don’t keep telling yourself that you deserve a treat and keep talking yourself into eating brookies every night.

Push yourself, but don’t push yourself so much that if you sleep in an extra hour that you get mad at yourself and stay mad for much of the day. (Not to point any fingers at any particular artists named Amy or anything.)

Balance! It’s so elusive, but it truly is the key to most things.

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