Becoming less self-critical

I was scheduled to take a flight and set my alarm for 5:00 AM. Well, I woke up and saw with a start that it was almost 7:00 AM! For about 15 minutes I scurried around, throwing tings into their cases, thinking I could tolerate not having makeup on or hair in place if it would get me where I was going. Finally I realized that there was no way I was going to make it on time to get this plane. Wow, what a disappointment!

I called and found there was another flight I could get in a couple of hours, but it would cost me over $400 more. Reluctantly, I booked it. I began to be very critical of myself; it was something I had never experienced before. I used to be incredibly punctual, highly scheduled, and super critical of anyone who wan't the same way. A very good friend recently observed that TIME was my "weapon", that I used against myself. he gently and kindly told me that when I spoke of "not have enough time" that I practically hissed as I spoke, and that there was an intensity that often wasn't really called for in the situation I was speaking about.

That was a helpful, central observation that helped me make major changes in my expectations of what is reasonable, what is healthy, what is actually good for me, when I make my assessments of how I will use my valuable time. I became alot kinder to myself in many ways, which are outgrowths of changing my perception of time, actually putting it aside and not keeping in in my armaments.

Because of these changes, I was able to shift into looking at the positive features of the situation: I could take a shower, have coffee, breakfast, and be comfortable about getting to the airport. I would still get to my destination, with no serious problems. I had had the sleep I needed. Spending an unplanned $400 was a bite, but in the grand scheme of things, not the end of the world. Thinking of finances spread over many years, it is a blip on the radar, a painful blip, but just a blip all the same.

I was so pleased to find that I was able to be non-critical of myself, very accepting; I have an attitude about learning from my experiences how that is different from the way I was in the past. I also see the way I was before as simply a stepping stone along my path, a way that was useful and that led me to where I am now and where I will be in times to come.

If you are interested in this topic, check out a book: "Compassion and Self Hate" by Theodore Rubin, MD. I have recommended it to many of my clients. Those who have read it have found it to be very helpful and we have used the concepts in our work together. Dr. Rubin is a psychiatrist who describes his own struggles with being overweight and depressed, which was extremely revealing when he was published in the 1970's! Self Hate is a vivid way of describing self-criticism, which is rampant in our society; Dr. Rubin actually says it is "universal". It's incredibly helpful to know just how many of us are struggling with inner conflict and really awful feelings - you are not alone!