I have a tendency deep within myself, and know many others who possess the same, to expect perfection in self and to settle for no less. To not be happy until the task is completed with the highest honors, till every last item is crossed off the to-do list, to withhold praise until the final and ultimate goal is reached... How much we miss out on when we do such things! (Funny enough, I don’t do this with other people. I really love to celebrate every victory along the way with others and see them grow, and it holds true for many people, that each is his own worst critic.)
I don’t know why it is so easy for some people to reward their shortcomings by giving them voice, rather than embrace their virtues. We can see this a lot with food choices. For example, in one of my favorite movies, “Fried Green Tomatoes,” Kathy Bates’ character, overweight and depressed Evelyn Couch cries, while eating a candy bar, “I wish I had the courage to get it over with and get really fat!” at which point her friend takes the candy bar out of her hand for her. This attitude turns into, “I’m a failure, so might as well be as big a failure as possible,” instead of looking at what was done well and allowing the positive associations of success propel you forward.
I know a fellow who has had a million histories of success in life, but shrinks these accomplishments down to infinitesimal levels by focusing only on what he has not yet achieved and this, in turn, leads to depression and self-defeating behaviors that just perpetuate this stupid cycle. This guy is also a list-maker who feels good only when he completes his list. I don’t think that is very healthy. But to compound the problem, he puts things on the list that are practically impossible, so this way he never gets the list done and can beat himself up for “failing” and consequently embarks on the journey toward more cyclical depression. He has practically been writing “☐Paint the sky” on his to-do list and beating himself up for not doing it. Why?
Some people battle an inside voice that constantly tells them they’re not good enough and they feed this belief, engulfed in self-pity or negative thoughts instead of looking at what has been accomplished and developing their character instead of seeing accomplishments or progress. Enough. Enough, enough enough! It’s ok to acknowledge your progress. It was PROGRESS for heaven’s sake! Don’t cheapen it by qualifying it.
I like to surround myself with others who can celebrate accomplishments, enjoy the moment, create a future and keep a positive outlook in all things. I’m glad to have such people in my life that remind me of this, and it’s part of my hope that I can be a voice to remind people of the same message. It all goes into the same category of enjoying the journey and living in the moment instead of for a specific point in the future. Life’s a whole lot more fun lived this way. And speaking of living, I’m looking forward to a weekend away with my sister, getting gussied up for “The Phantom of the Opera,” painting fingernails, reading