Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: What can I stop beating myself up over?
Oh, this one is tough.
“Laying into yourself, unduly depriving yourself, punishing yourself–that’s self-flagellation, not self-improvement.
No need to be too hard on yourself. Hold yourself to a higher standard but not an impossible one. And forgive yourself if and when you slip up.”
In other words, constructive self-criticism.
I share a tendency many who were characterized as gifted as kids do: seeing perfection as the only possible desirable outcome. I got through high school with straight As in a challenging courseload, but then I got to university and suddenly I was getting some Bs and even a C or two. At least I didn’t back away from the challenging courseload, but I did shift it to focus on the areas where I found the As both easier and more enjoyable to learn. The higher I went in my education, the more I was surrounded by people who were just as intelligent, if not more so, than me. But I did it. I got a PhD. But I still catch myself falling into that trap that says that if I’d really been a brilliant scholar, I would have stayed in academia, even though I have proof of the brilliant scholars who, despite years of trying, didn’t make it.
On a more micro level, I really have a tendency to lay into myself for my absent-mindedness and general philosophy of organized chaos, partially because I so often know how to solve for it but just don’t bother because I get along just fine 95% of the time. I tend to have a plan in my head, which is fine when I’m working alone but not always so much when working with a group.
The one upside? It’s deep and fierce and sharp, this self-loathing, but it’s also short. I usually can’t sustain it. When I actually do start to push into something resembling depression, it feels different. It’s a dull kind of absence of feeling, rather than anything intense. When I am depressed–and it’s happened a few times over the years–it’s not self-loathing, where I can relatively easily pull myself out of it because I eventually determine that the self-loathing is ridiculous, but a profound sense of stasis, of lack of feeling, of flatness, of greyness, or dullness.
Continued good progress on the case counts – just 210 today.
The main work on the embroidery is done. No posting here yet, because I still need the light table session to fill in any gaps, there are a couple of spots that need shading, and there is one spot that needs the gold metallic highlights. But should be done tomorrow.
Meanwhile, I am now the proud owner of a genuine Soviet Shostakovich bust, direct from Russia courtesy of eBay. If I owned a piano, he would have to live there. Right now he’s on my desk beside my work computer.
We’re also trying to figure out where half of our Redbubble t-shirt order went to. We ordered about 20 shirts (insane, I know; just 4 were mine) but got ten (I think). For one design, the one for Dave arrived but not the one for me.
Continuing to ponder Canada Day this year. I expect there will be thoughts emerging soon.
“…lack of feeling, of flatness, of greyness, or dullness.”
Pretty good ways of describing my feelings of baseline depression. When things get bad, there are usually a couple of events, failures, and/or fears driving it. Currently, the reality of our relationship with our First Nations, a dying friend, and looming financial expenditures are weighing heavily. So far, I am still swimming.
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