I enrolled myself into the University of Hard Knocks a long time ago. Life can be difficult, but I think I excel in the following of courses: Making Your Situation Worse, Negative Attitude 101, Over-Analyze Everything, Nearly Cripple Yourself with Caring About What Everyone Thinks About You, and, my best subject, Destructive Self-Criticism (let’s just say this is my master’s program here).
If I went around and found a group of unhappy people, the type that never hesitate to try and bring everyone else around them down, they’d willingly point out everything I do that is wrong, get mad at me, yell at me, and generally attempt to make my life miserable.
However, I would not go around and find such a group because I wouldn’t want their behavior and grumpy, bitter personalities around me.
So why do I behave like one of them in regards to myself?
I would never talk to someone else the way I talk to myself. I wouldn’t criticize the things in them that I do in myself. I would cheer them on, but I can’t say I ever sincerely cheered myself on. When they told me of their failures and weaknesses, I’d point out all their good traits and successes.
It’s easy to say, “Hey, I’ll just be nicer to myself.” Just like it’s easy to say, “I’m super negative. Be positive!” Or, “You’re making this harder than it needs to be. Relax.” Or, “You’d be happier if you quit wondering what other people are saying behind your back.” Or, “Quit harping on yourself for a mistake you made. Learn from it and get over it.”
Let’s be honest. Saying the words is so much easier than acting on the words.
But if anyone else finds that they’ve enrolled themselves in courses of life that they’d rather not be enrolled in, it’s not too late to drop them. It might take some time; for me, I think I’m going to have to duke it out with my inner academic adviser and see if I can get some better classes, like: Oops, You Did It Again: Dealing with Mistakes; How to Ignore the Inner and Outer Destructive Critic; Living in the Silver Lining; or Someone Doesn’t Like You (and You’ll Survive It)… Just to name a few on the top of my head that I could benefit from.
I have so much to be happy about every day, really I do. My husband rocks my socks. My family has my back. I have a full time job working with some awesome people. While I don’t see my friends all the time, I know they’re there for me. I live in a cozy apartment with a comfy bed (which I’m currently laying in). I have beliefs that are good and beautiful. I have every reason in the world to be grateful for I’m very blessed.
But there are times I don’t feel so happy because a few negative details in my existence try to overshadow all the wonderful people and things.
I wish I could say the right thing, have that aha moment, that frees me of everything that drags me down, but the truth is, I’m always going to struggle with things like judging myself too harshly or trying too hard to make people like me. But maybe it won’t be so hard one day to let things go, to move forward, to love myself flaws and all, while always trying to be a bit better than I was before. There’s got to be a balance between treating myself kindly and improving the parts that could use some work.
The point is that until I work at letting things go, until I consciously try to get myself out of those awful courses, I’ll never drop them. No one’s forcing me in them. I’m there by choice, and I’d like to choose something else.
Time is too short to stay in courses that do nothing for my overall learning and advancement in this lil’ life of mine.