I’ve heard for many years that I am hard on myself. So when I heard from my coach from my leadership conference a few weeks ago in San Diego, that she observed that I am very hard on myself, I wasn’t surprised. More recently a former boss talked about the P word, perfectionism, and how I have very high standards.
So this past Sunday was a blessing. I actually caught myself in the act of telling myself off. It was morning, my husband was out of town, and everywhere I looked around the house I was reminded that I did not accomplish the tasks I set out to do the prior week. (even typing it now, I see how that was an exaggeration, I had done laundry every morning, and I made some phone calls about teaching dance) But I knew I was farting around with some other paperwork, both work and nonwork related, that I needed to do in order to move some things forward.
That morning, dirty dishes were in the sink, papers from my daughter’s school were all over the table, and I remembered how crappy I ate the day before… As I was telling myself off in my head about all the things that have piled up that were easy to do and that I should’ve done, but didn’t do, I finally stopped to listen to myself chew myself out. I usually don’t listen because it happens so effortlessly, but I noticed my shoulders were getting tight, my back was hurting, and my breath was shallow. I listened to myself fuss about not having edited pages in my mystery book manuscript, not having done the homework for a masterclass I am taking, and being irritated I had not done my physical therapy exercises over the last few days. Just on and on and on and on and on.
As I was cooking breakfast, I was listening to Gabrielle Bernstein’s book The Universe Has Your Back, I realized what I was doing. This was the moment where I was berating myself and getting ready to go into another work week with high hopes but inevitably there would be little to show for it because I would be exhausted from beating myself up. I took a few deep breaths and forgave myself for the “laziness” of last week. I repeated it again and took another deep breath. Amazingly I felt better and then I started to knock out some paperwork and then I emptied the dishwasher. Such small things , but those things build your confidence that you can accomplish what you set out to do.
For the rest of today, it’s Sunday as I write this, I’m packing up my stuff and going to Panera to work on my manusript when my husband gets home. Oh! and he and my daughter can work on her homework, yeah that was another thing I didn’t do yesterday. Hmm… how did I forget that my daughter and I went painting and had a great time! For some reason that doesn’t register as a win in my mind, I still think about all the things I didn’t do.
So I tell you this just to say try to catch yourself in the act of telling yourself off. Then stop immediately, forgive yourself and I promise it will change your mood. You will begin slowly but surely knock out easy tasks to get your confidence back. Those micro wins help you feel like you can conquer the world.
Also, remember those who are struggling in Tx and the surrounding states right now. It should put things in our lives in perspective.