Be Harder on Yourself

Justice 11/20/2019

I’ve been told by some that I am too hard on myself. Most likely that is true. I am hard on myself, because I know I am can be better today than I was yesterday. The best way I know how to do that is to mercilessly critique what I do or don’t do and then try to course correct from there.

There could be a worse alternative. Somebody else could be harder on me than I am. In my mind, that means I am not caring enough or unable to see my flaws. I appreciate constructive criticism. It is an opportunity to get better. But if I am honest, I would rather identify my own problems before someone else does.

What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism. –G.K. Chesterton

I have to be honest with myself when I look in the mirror. Is there something there that I can improve, such as a little extra midsection padding? At the end of the day, I need to do the same thing in my journal. What have I done? What could I do better? There is a key element to this whole self-critical process. I can only look at the things that are in my control. Being critical about the things that are out of my control will do me no good. I can only control what I can control. Everything else is not even worth worrying about.

There is a rightness* to analyzing one’s self and making improvements based on that analysis. But when somebody says that I am too hard on myself, this is an issue I can resolve as well. I can monitor the comments I say about myself. I don’t have to share with the world my own self-criticism. Instead, I can make a note of it and then do the necessary work to correct it.

*The only time I read fiction is at night before going to bed. Currently, this is Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. The main character Valentine Michael Smith groks (understands) something’s rightness or wrongness and acts according to that perception. It is a good lesson for us to consider. Can we have an unbiased opinion of whether something is right or wrong and act accordingly?

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