Are you being too hard on yourself?

I’ve been thinking today about why it’s so easy to be hard on yourself.

I hear it from women I talk to all the time, and I catch myself doing it too: getting tired, getting overwhelmed and suddenly finding myself caught in a frenzy of self-criticism.

In fact, on Friday AS I WAS COMPOSING THIS POST ABOUT BEING TOO HARD ON YOURSELF, I got sucked into a vortex of being too hard on myself.

Here’s the short version of what happened — see if you can relate: I was writing in MS word. At 2:00, after about an hour of writing, I was 99% finished, so I closed my laptop to head home, thinking I’d finish there and post it before driving to pick up my son from daycare.

But when I got home and opened my laptop — the document had disappeared.

Word hadn’t crashed, I hadn’t saved it somewhere weird — it was gone, as if I hadn’t written it. This was baffling. I started questioning my sanity — had I written it? And then my inner critics showed up in force.

They started saying things like, Oh god, this ALWAYS happens, you ran out of time again. You should have kept it simple instead of making it too big to pull off LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO. Why can’t you get one thing done like a normal person?

I used the exercise I talk about in my new workbook to identify and give a name to one of the critical voices in my mind. He’s Randolph the pencil sharpener shark and he’s constantly barking at me to be stronger, smarter, faster, better.

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Randolph was upset. And after doing some dialoguing with him over the weekend, it’s clear to me now what he is scared of: being left behind, being unprepared, being eaten by bigger sharks, being swallowed up by the world.

This morning, after looking back on the wreckage I abandoned on Friday, I started over.

And ironically, by giving up Friday afternoon and admitting things were a jumbled mess and I couldn’t fix them, and by letting myself go through the process of being hard on myself and then pulling myself out of it — I achieved what Randolph the pencil shark wants. I now am feeling more clarity about why I am too hard on myself, and when it happens, and how to get out of it (I’ll write more on that later!).

Anyway — that’s what’s going on in my world. If you are being too hard on yourself too — know that you are not alone.

With love from me, Randolph and my inner champion, Wild Coach Helma — here’s to growing and stretching and learning to go easy on ourselves.

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