What Kind of Report Card Do You Give Yourself?
Author's note: This is a post I originally wrote nearly three and a half years ago. It was never published because I ran it by a friend before I clicked 'publish' on my blog, and her opinion stopped me from sharing it. She didn't say anything wrong or anything bad, but her lack of liking it made me doubt myself. And that was enough to stop me from sharing it. Back then I was accustomed to letting doubt creep in at the slightest turn. It was my way of staying safe--of attempting to stay ahead of any possible criticism. Having learned the futility and ultimate failure of this way of thinking, I have since successfully silenced my mean inner critic.
Working with so many highly sensitive people this last year has made me realize that I am not the only one clinging to the false belief that if I do everything perfectly I can remain 'beyond reproach'. That is straight up crap --and is both exhausting and futile.
Silencing the monster within me took courage and patience. In hopes that a little inspiration may help someone else silence theirs, I am sharing this as it was originally written, without changing tenses or words. Freely. And without expectation. Or inner judgment.
I know it will reach the person who needs it most.
Don’t get caught up in the chase, enjoy what is right in front of you.
How many times have you set a goal for yourself, and then gone after it with gusto. A new diet to shed 15 pounds, a new workout routine to whip your body into shape, a strict budget to save money for something you want to purchase? Whatever the goal you’ve set, it can be energizing and satisfying to have a purpose (and an end) to work towards.
Goals are trackable, achievable and recognizable, both to you, and to others around you. Call me weird but as a kid I always loved getting a report card. It showed me that I was on track. Or that I wasn’t, in some cases. It told me what I needed to work harder on, where my strengths were, and where they weren’t. It was a great way to stay focused and to discern where I stood in the scheme of life.
But what happens to that feeling of being on track when we become adults? Where is our report card? Who tells us if we are on track, or points out our strengths, tells us what we need to work on and gives us recognition for our accomplishments?
No one. We have to do it ourselves. We self evaluate, self analyze, and grade our own performance as mothers, wives, worker bees, friends. And most of us are pretty darn hard on ourselves. How often are we truly satisfied with our accomplishments?
I know I'm not. I always think about what I could have done better, choosing to focus on the areas that need improvement rather than stopping to celebrate what I have actually accomplished. It’s kind of exhausting. Take being a mother, for example. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. Even when I'm right, I feel wrong. And I think about all the things I could have done better to handle a situation. Letting your children make their own mistakes is almost impossible to handle gracefully.
So, how can we stop the madness of focusing on our weaknesses and not our strengths?
How about we all try to appreciate ourselves, and our accomplishments a little more...
Really think about that. The next time we start to knock ourselves for not accomplishing something on our "To Do" list, how about we pause and pat ourselves on the back for what we did do instead. Cleaned the house, filled the cupboards with groceries, helped the kids with their homework, did the laundry, cooked dinner, picked up the new glasses at the eye doctor, returned the videos and library books on time, sent a birthday card to our mother-in-law, well.... you get the idea, right?
Remember your own awesomeness. Celebrate all the little achievements and give yourself some time to smell the roses along the way, instead of hurtling off headlong toward your next big goal. I know I'm willing to give it a go. How about you?