Heartbreak | Self-criticism/Self-compassion

It’s ironic to me that in some of the roughest moments of the relationship I grieve that I was called prideful or possessing a big ego. There are few moments where I’ve felt less seen.

The truth is – yes, I’m confident in my insights, intellect, and my ability to adapt to circumstances, including failure. However, I sell myself short all the time. I was reminded of that this evening when I went to the grocery store and was met with absolutely exuberant amazement and praise at the fact that I was wearing a mitten I had knit and designed myself – just completed this evening. It kind of shocked me (I don’t really feel that any of these efforts are that spectacular), but that’s the point – I assume that many around me are greater than myself. I’m continuously surprised by others and keep my mind open to their possibilities – my philosophical and spiritual approaches would be mere bluster if I didn’t truly feel that way. I give others the benefit of the doubt, and even though I have studied years to know about a variety of topics, I often find myself speaking to others as though they know the same information. With knitting, I feel like an imposter still trying to find some small modicum of excellence, even though I’m designing my own projects on the fly now. I just feel that others around me must be more experienced and know more – because I know how little I know.

The same goes in recent times with feelings regarding my physique. I have felt unattractive for months despite months of push-ups, pull-ups, and physical effort, but I have gotten overwhelming positive reactions from people recently, and for the first time in quite some time, I see myself in the mirror and feel powerful. It’s been a key point of healing.

A friend recently told me that whichever woman I end up with in the future (although, honestly, I expect that to be no one) will be incredibly lucky because of my intelligence, kindness, and general awesomeness. I don’t feel that way. I feel that I’m worthless, day in and day out, but I show up. I do my best for others. I try to learn. I try to grow. I try to be kind. I try to be present.

All I can do is try, but in part, this time is learning to be kinder to myself in the process and learning to see that any excellence I do have is honed by this very phronesis of aiming for the good and being humble enough to doubt myself along the way. There needs to be a balance between self-criticism and self-compassion.


May this inspire others to both push themselves and be kind to themselves.

Gassho!

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