Saturday, February 20, 2010

In Which I Wonder Why I Am So Unkind to Myself

I love The Well Trained Mind forums. I'm a daily reader and frequent responder. I find some of my best insight and information there. But too often I struggle with the feelings they bring forth in me.

I KNOW that virtual forums are not a true reflection of life. I KNOW that online anyone can paint any kind of picture of themself. Reality is no object. I KNOW that we present our best self whenever possible and leave out the nitty gritty. I KNOW these things, yet I still find myself making comparisons to the perfect pictures presented by others.

I make comparisons in real life sometimes. The difference is that in real life I am usually aware enough to see that the object of my comparison is NOT perfect. In real life, if I run into a person often enough I am almost always able to indentify something human in them. Finding the humanity makes me feel comforted. Not in an arrogant way but in a cooperative way. We ARE all in this together.

Online, the cooperation is harder to identify. Too often it looks like competition and I really hate competition...when I don't win. And I never win because I am not kind to myself. I very seldom give myself a break for a short temper or not having done the research to know what kind of learner my children are. I can bludgeon myself with a miriad of short comings. There is no end to the trespasses and lapses that I can abuse myself with, given the right circumstances.

I want to believe this is a human tendancy. Don't we all find fault with ourselves more easily than finding good? Don't we all take ourselves behind the woodshed and give ourselves a workout every now and then?

The trick for me is stopping myself on the way to the woodshed. Recognizing a good idea or a wise course of action and praise the person that did think of it even as I adopt it as my own. This is so much more productive than feeling badly for not having thought if it myself. I believe we do all struggle for kindness, to ourselves and to others. Recognizing my harsh moments and choosing something different is the behavior to which I aspire.

Where do you struggle for kindness?

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if it is universal or not but I often find myself struggling along the same thought patterns. Why can't I do x like that mom or y with like her. Forgetting the fact that maybe her children are older, fewer or more independent. Forgetting that it's okay that I didn't invent the wheel, I can still use it. So I commiserate with you. And I agree that those boards are a two edged sward. :) Great post btw.