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.