Stop picking on yourself

I’m pretty out of sorts these days. Sometimes I try to write my way out of that space, and sometimes I just write from that space. 

Today, I’m writing from that space.

We all find ourselves out of whack at some point, and as I’ve said before, I don’t know what whack is, but it’s clearly where we want to be. So I’m trying to get back in whack.

Part of my struggle is sitting down to meditate - I’d been doing it pretty regularly for awhile, but in the past few weeks I can’t even seem to do that. 

In an effort to center myself, I’ve spent each day reading short reflections from the book “Journey to the Heart” by Melody Beattie. 

This morning’s reflection was to “delight in yourself.” 

The phrase almost made me laugh out loud. Not because it’s bad advice, but because I almost forget what it even means to be delighted.

Sad, angry, lethargic, broken, frustrated - these words are readily available and accurate for me right now. I’m not delighting at all in any of those.  

In the reflection though, she says to “stop picking on yourself and to accept yourself - warts, waistline and all.” 

Stop picking on yourself. 

These are the times in my life when all I can seem to do is pick on myself - and I’ve worked with enough of you out there to know you do the same. I’ve seen you grab the skin on your forearms, pinch around your waist, and make some self-deprecating comment about your appearance and berate yourself for not working harder or doing more. 

Picking on ourselves is such a natural habit, we don’t even recognize that we do it.

When I’m in this space, all I feel is the struggle of climbing the mountain and how far I have to go to reach the top. I can’t appreciate the beauty that’s already around me, I can only think about how beautiful it will be at the top. 

Yes, I kick happiness down the road. I kick delight down the road. And I kick myself for not already being at the top of that mountain.

So what do we do?

Work on ourselves.

We’re all works in progress. We all have our flaws. But those flaws don’t always take away from our beauty-often they’re a part of our beauty.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about “both/and.”

We can delight in our flaws and work to become the best versions of ourselves we can be. 

We can practice giving ourselves, and each other, love and kindness along the journey, not just when we reach the destination. 

I never write these posts looking for sympathy, though many of you offer kind words. I write these posts because sometimes the dark days are what I know best. I write these posts because I refuse to pretend.

Sometimes it’s really hard to look in the mirror and find something about yourself in which you can take delight.

But you can stop being the cruelest voice in your life.

You can work to stop picking on yourself. And I’ll try to do the same.