I was reading this post about being too hard on yourself that I was inspired to write about it too. (I was actually thinking of commenting on the original post, but since I was afraid that it would be too long for a comment I decided to dedicate own blog post 😛
I am not a stranger to being too hard on myself. When I was writing my master’s thesis, I remembered that I could not answer ONE QUESTION for my half-time seminar and I instantly felt like the most stupid person in the world. I bugged my supervisor afterwards, trying to find the answer, but instead, I saw a part of me that I had never seen before (or that I refused to see before).
He pointed out to me that I was a perfectionist, that I had a high standard. I was about to disagree because if you looked at my house, it was a total mess and did not reflect me being a perfectionist at all. But he was right when he said I had a high standard (read: ambitious). Especially when it came to education. I could not accept anything below excellent in my assignments/studies (which made it difficult for me, sometimes, well… oftentimes…). So when it came to this half-time seminar (he drew a vertical line) it was as if my standard was the top of this line, but I fell short of that top and it made me immediately felt stupid – although I was actually still pretty high above. I realised that I indeed had that kind of worldview to myself, that anything less than the top was considered worthless.
Strangely, I did not have the same worldview to others. As reflected by this conversation between me and one of the school nurse/psychologist,
’What would you do if your friends made mistakes?’ she asked.
‘I would forgive them,’ I said.
‘Then why don’t you do the same things to yourself?’
Ah, indeed we are the biggest critics of ourselves.
I personally don’t think that being perfectionist/ambitious is wrong. But sometimes, it blinded me from feeling compassionate towards myself, especially when I failed to reach the standard I set for myself. And that’s probably something I should continue working on for the sake of my own sanity (and perhaps others’ around me, too)…