I Will Be Nice to Myself. Namaste.

Posted on 28.02.2011

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One of my friend’s new year’s goals was simply ‘to be nice to [her]self’. When she told me this, I told her that I liked that so much, that I needed to use that as well.

I tell my friends (and total strangers) often that we are our own worst critics. This is something I realized in college, where I was forced to think critically about my own work along with the work of everyone else’s, and be able to speak succinctly about it. My opinion hasn’t changed.

When I take photos of people, they look at them more often than not and say ‘oh, I look terrible… look at my nose’ or ‘my hair looks bad’ or something along those lines. These are things that they notice about themselves and have issue with, because they think it might be what everyone else thinks. They don’t realize that they’ve had their entire lives to look at and scrutinize themselves, whereas the average stranger has about 10 seconds before they are gone and out of their life forever. And during that time, the strangers are most often thinking about their own shortcomings rather than taking time to criticize others. That only comes with the luxury of time, friends.

I’m writing about this today because it goes hand-in-hand with one of my other goals for the new year, to do something fitness-related every day. I’ve been working really hard for a long time on not criticizing myself too harshly, something that I was raised to do. My parents were very short on praise and high in expectations of me, to the point that nothing I did ever felt good enough for them, even if I felt proud of myself. It only compounded when I got to college and faced 6-hour long critiques of a page layout, where no one was bound to be 100% happy with anyone else’s work. There, I quickly learned that it was really only MY opinion and the professor’s that mattered, along with those of a few trusted and talented friends whose work I respected. I came to the point of thinking ‘if I don’t think you’re a good designer/photographer, I generally don’t think much of your criticism’. That’s ultimately a false way to think, because we should take what we can from everyone, but in some cases it is a helpful tool. Like when it’s obvious that the person criticising you is just doing it in order to speak/hurt you/hear themselves talk.

Back to today. I spent the whole weekend WANTING to go running, but not actually getting to run. A lot of factors came into play that kept me from that goal, but most importantly, I just wasn’t feeling it. I went to bed last night telling myself that I would run this morning. Here it is, almost noon and I haven’t gone running.

At first I was pissed at myself, because I’ve been a little lazy over the past few weeks. I know it has a lot to do with the combination of René being home and that I’ve been kind of under the weather, but I was still pissed at myself. Then, I thought that I have Budo tonight, so I HAVE to train, and that two days off won’t kill me. I can make up for them, kind of. I’ve got Yoga tomorrow, Budo on Wednesday, Running on Thursday and then a weekend full of walking through Hamburg coming up. So, the fitness is coming, whether I want it to or not.

So I decided that I’m not going to try to run today. There’s no reason to try, and there’s no reason to be upset with myself about not running. I am not perfect, and I will not strive to be. This isn’t some kind of fall, it’s actually rather liberating.

Don’t be so hard on yourselves. We’re only human. Namaste.

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Posted in: fitness, life