I have a friend that taught me that okay is okay. Sometimes our inner critic just won’t shut up, and can get kind of sneaky about raising the bar. No matter how hard you try, you’re aware of Perfection!!!… only we never seem to grab that elusive golden ring.
We don’t tell ourselves that we’re striving for perfection. We couch it in terms of our ‘best’, or even more sneaky, we might call it ‘better’. I know I could do better. Well, who couldn’t? If you’re a person that has struggled to feel individual worth, then this is like a perpetual goad in the behind.
The sneaky stuff can look like this. You take a walk. Feels good! The inner critic might splash a quick image of you working out on a machine at the gym. In this image, you’ve already lost a few pounds and toned a little, and you’re probably wiping sweat off your brow with a white towel. Yeah… a working out machine! That’s the goal! This can all happen in such a micro flash moment, that you barely realize that you’ve diminished the walk you just took. Soon I’ll be doing the better work outs…
Maybe you just steamed some broccoli, cooked some squash, and baked some chicken. What an amazingly healthy meal! The little critic might now remind you that you sprinkled a little cheese on the broccoli, and wait… what about that popcorn you had after dinner? Yeah… coulda shoulda done better. Next time…
At some point, it can really feel good to just squash that pesky voice. I’m not talking about my conscience, not my real conscience. I won’t sit on Jiminy Cricket. I’m talking about that critical nagging impossible to please critic. If you’re unfortunate enough to be married to a passive aggressive man who seems to be working with that darn inner critic, it gets even trickier to sort out. You’re not going to squash him, no matter how crazy he makes you feel. You can smile, smile, smile, and ignore the baited hooks. Focus your energy on some healthy act of loving care for yourself.
Instead, you can validate your own worth with kindness. Not excuse yourself when you shouldn’t, but acknowledge that you’re human. Not super human, just human. The point is that I’m human. I have good days and bad days. I make amazing progress, and I fall back on my keester. I can astound myself with my efforts, and I can underwhelm myself with lack of trying.
What do I tell myself in response to any and all of it? What do I say when I’ve had a bad day or fallen on my face?
And that’s okay.
If I bake a chicken and squash and steam some broccoli, that’s awesome. If the critic sounds off, I’ll take my worthwhile behind and sit on it. Extra cheese on the broccoli and all. And that’s okay.
If I’m drained, lethargic, sad, or I just don’t feel like cooking, I can open up some ready made soup and make sandwiches for dinner. I can even tell everyone else to fend for themselves. And that’s okay!
If I take a walk, great! If I curl up in bed with a book, or find an alone space to work on a story or poem instead, that’s okay (because that part of me is worth the time or the rest too). If I just sit and watch television all night, maybe I needed to decompress.
It’s not that bad things are okay, but sometimes you just can’t be more than human. Wait… I can never be more than human. My frame is made of dust, and He knows it.
I need to remember it.
But if I forget and catch myself in the act of kicking myself?
First, stop kicking! The fact that I forgot and did that? That’s okay.
It’s late Friday after a long week, and I just realized that I have no sensible, organized plans to accomplish what are probably some important goals this weekend. Zip. Nada. Life will go on. I’ll figure it out at some point. My daughter just hit the thirty percent progress marker for Algebra after only our first month of school. Woo hoo! There are messes all over this house, and I have no idea what important things I’m forgetting that should be on Lists. ugh
And that’s okay 🙂
(Thanks to my friend K for this lesson in the freedom to be human. Acceptance is a beautiful thing!)