We beat ourselves up every day and then we come back for more the next.
We think that this self-abuse makes us into a better person.
But I don’t think that’s how it works, regardless of what fundamentalist religions scream at us. Brainwashed people of their ilk constantly try to convince us that we’re not worth all that much, that we’re nothing but a bunch of sinners. That our lonely little lives are basically worthless. That unless we accept their definition of meaning and success then we’re no better then all the other scum of the earth.
Sometimes we fight back and say “Hey fuck you!” We stand proud of who we are. We have every right to pursue happiness, like any other citizen.
But deep down we have major insecurities. Do we deserve success, or happiness, or financial stability? Do we deserve love or friendship? We’re nothing but fuck-ups, bad to the bone, and there ain’t no rest for the wicked. We feel that we’re lucky to have a goddamn job at all, or a place to sleep, or someone who brings us take-out Chinese food every once in a while.
We’re full of pride and insecurity, which is a mix of feelings that can turn into hate or contempt.
We need to rid ourselves of this manic depressive cycle.
First of all, we’re just humans. Most of us have the same basic shit: We have a place to live with a mortgage or rent, we have some rugrats or dogs to feed and water, we have a bunch of hopes and dreams stewing away inside of us, and we have struggles and triumphs that we keep to ourselves. We all want to be happy. We all want to make it through the tough times. But we end up judging ourselves, comparing ourselves to other, or comparing others to ourselves.
The only way we can begin to be tolerant of another person’s unique path to happiness is to begin to be tolerant of our own wacky paths. We know that our lives have been long strange trips, but for some assume we every one else’s trip has been easy, or normal, or without incident.
How do we get out of this cycle of self-sabotage?
- Stop comparing yourself to others
How can we measure up to the gods and goddesses that we see on our screens and in our magazines? They have been blessed with good looks, some acting chops, a modelling break, or whatever. Many of them have worked their asses off to get to where they are now. And many of their lives are centered around creating an image that appears beautiful, perfect, and untouchable at all times. 99.9% of humanity can’t approach that level of commitment toward those goals, nor are we blessed with flawless cheek bones. What you see in the 0.1% is extremely rare, and yet we judge ourselves by those standards.
The happiest people are not measuring their self-worth by anything other then their own code of conduct, a personal morality, or an inner dedication toward growth.
They allow themselves to be exactly who they are without compromise and without apologies .
Look at yourself in the mirror. Just look, don’t judge. How hard is that? We constantly look in the mirror and critique what is reflected, but we need to take a moment to refrain from that behavior. That is our outer self, and there is beauty to be found in anyone’s outer self. We all share the same basic parts. After you look at your self for a couple minutes, sit down for five minutes and accept that your inner self is beautiful in its own way. We all share the doubts and worries and small little joys and comforts of being alive. Whatever it is that makes up the soul, each soul has the same worth.
- Stop apologizing for who you are
We run around all day apologizing for being in a certain spot, or saying a certain thing, or asking for something we need. We apologize for the way we look, the way we talk, and the way we move. We apologize for everything we do and then apologize for apologizing.
If we keep apologizing for simply being who we are, we can never feel comfortable in our own skin.
We need to stop apologizing for who we are. We look the way we look and act the way we act because we have been down a path and who we are is the result of our travels. If we are not what we want to be right now, then we need to start taking steps toward where we want to be. We don’t need to apologize for chasing our dreams, we don’t need to apologize for bingeing on Netflix, we don’t need to apologize for enjoying a burger and fries. We just need to be true to ourselves.
- Accept that you will never reach perfection
Perfection is not a real thing. The ideal of perfection is a concept created by religions and philosophers.
Every day we work hard to get all the things done that we need to get done. We beat ourselves up if we don’t get them all done in a specific time frame. But what is more important, all those things on your list or the things that are not on your list that you want to do to enjoy life? Only you know what really needs to be done that specific day.
I think it is important to focus on accomplishing one important task at a time. Ask yourself: If you get that one important thing done, the one that you can’t get out of your head, will that let you stop beating yourself up? Chasing perfection is trying to complete your list when you damn well know you want to go take a walk and get an ice cream cone instead.
To see the beauty in age and imperfection is to recognize the very nature of what it means to be alive. Ignoring this leads to unsatisfaction with the majority of life. To realize that your lists will never get done is to realize that there is no ultimate state to be in. Where ever you are is fine!
For more thoughts on the beauty of imperfection, read this explanation of wabi sabi.
- Accept that you are full of shit
Have you ever noticed that when you seem to be angry with other people a lot of the time you are really angry with yourself? I’ve noticed that when my temper ratchets up, I’m beating myself up for something on the inside. I take my Five Minutes to Mindfulness break and end up realizing that I am full of shit. Either I have an unresolved issue that I need to work or there is a miscommunication that I failed at clearing up. In the end we create our own reality, and sometimes we just have to laugh at how ridiculous these creations are.
In the end it comes down to being able to open your heart up to who we are, who others are, and the beauty of the imperfect. We need to stop apologizing for simply being alive and pursing our goals and dreams. We need to let ourselves be whoever we are right now as we work our next next step toward the happiness. And we need to laugh at how full of shit we are.