I've known this for a while, but it's really come to the forefront recently how hard on myself I am.
At my wedding, I made an effort to speak with everyone, but I keep thinking about the one person that I missed - the husband of one my mom's friends (I did speak to his wife). Not how great the wedding was, but how I missed speaking to this one person, and how he didn't look like he was having fun when I made eye contact with him and smiled.
Then I had a work incident recently (discussed elsewhere) where I said something I shouldn't have said. I've been so down on myself since it was brought to my attention yesterday - crying, defensive, and thoughts of punishing myself...nothing harmful, just thoughts that I should be grounded and not allowed to do anything fun - all for a mistake.
My boss just called and praised me for the way I handled things, and said not to worry about it, so I feel a little better about that. But I really need to not beat myself up over any real or imagined mistake.
But I haven't figured out how to do that. Has anyone got the secret?
-------------------- If you say you love ice cream, you better be dreaming of an orgy with Ben, Jerry, and one fine-ass chunky monkey.
It sounds like a case of perfectionism to me. I still do that kind of stuff all the time, constantly mentally slapping myself for not doing something exactly right. Unfourtunately, things like these just happen.
Have you tried thinking of it in the sense that those kind of mistakes show that you are human and nothing's perfect? Even from what you've said, it sounds like the two things could be smoothed over if not fixed entirely. Why not call up the guy you missed at your wedding? I'm not sure what you had said at work, but if your boss is praising you for the way you handled it, I don't imigane it would be that serious of an error.
If this dosen't help maybe a book on how to break perfectionism would. In fact if you find one of those, could you send me a link to where you got it?
-------------------- You can dream all you want, but when you wake up, you'll find that nothing has changed. The only way to make those dreams come true is to dedicate your entire life to your sport. Posts: 28 | From: Kenosha, Wisconsin | Registered: Aug 2006
| IP: Logged |
I know that this isn't true across the board, but many people (myself included) were raised in a culture where worrying and guilt were encouraged. Almost as signs of character. Statements like "Well, you SHOULD be worried," or "Well, at least you feel bad about it." all go to reinforce the idea that there is something noble or a sign of "character" in beating yourself up. People who don't worry, or don't beat themselves up, are somehow frivolous or less caring. (According to this cultural concept) I'm still working very hard on not worrying or beating myself up excessivly because I was raised to believe that's what honest, good, sincere people do. While you should certainly learn from mistakes...you just have to keep telling yourself and telling yourself that worry and guilt do nothing to change the reality of the situation, and beating yourself up mentally and emotionally affects nothing and no-one but yourself. I still haven't figured this out fully, but it does help a little.
-------------------- Where are my pants and why am I wearing this helmet? Posts: 27 | From: Ogden, UT | Registered: Oct 2006
| IP: Logged |
What you're doing sounds like empathy taken to the extreme. The man at your wedding who didn't look like he was having a good time... you feel bad that he doesn't look like he's having fun, and then you somehow talk yourself into believing that if you would have made time to talk to him, he'd have felt better. The mistake at work... you stop to think about how that might cause some kind of hardship for other people and then beat yourself up about causing other folks problems.
We've all been there in one form or another. Only complete asshats don't give a damn about other people's feelings. However, taking it to such an extreme degree is only going to drive you crazy. Being a person known to obsess about minutiae, I speak from experience. I still catch myself obsessing from time to time--hard habit to kick--but I try to catch myself and say, "Tomorrow, will anyone even remember this happened? In a week, will it be relevant to anyone? In a month, will I even remember this happened?" If I can honestly answer "no" to any of these questions, I do my best to just let it go.
If you have a hard time doing that, I suggest writing down the problem. When things go on and on in your head, they can seem limitless. Writing them down helps to put a little border around them so you can see just how big they are (or aren't, as is usually the case), and can help you deal with them better.
Hope that helps.
-------------------- They just don't make crazed, beserk robots like they used to. --Sheen Estevez, Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius
If I manage to post something swipe-worthy that you would like to make your sig, you may do so with my blessing. Posts: 2486 | From: East Stroudsburg, PA | Registered: Oct 2005
| IP: Logged |
quote:Originally posted by frogpond: Getting older helps.
That's what Walt Kelly said in an old Pogo strip. One character asked, "How do you know if you're an adult?" The other said, "It's largely a matter of looking back...and not counting the mistakes."
My sister pointed out something: Okay, you know that relative that you missed speaking to at the wedding? I'll bet, if you could read her mind, her memories of the wedding would involve her own private embarrassments! ("I spilled jam on my blouse! My God, everyone there will remember that to the end of their days! I am so mortified!")
I sometimes still get mad at myself for stupid things I did as a kid, but I'm trying to get over this habit. Actually, I was having a heart to heart with a good friend a few years ago, and told her that I still felt bad about something that had happened more than a decade ago. She didn't know what I was talking about! I had beat myself up for it for years (off and on), and it wasn't even a blip on her radar. The funny thing was, as soon as we had that conversation I quit thinking of it completely (until I saw this thread, anyway). I try to remind myself of that when I'm being hard on myself, and sometimes it even works.
Oh good lord. I too have beat myself up over stupid things that happened over ten to twenty years ago. Do I still talk to any of the people that I think about? Heck, do I even know if any of them are still alive? No. In reality, the majority of my mistakes and missteps have already been forgotten by the people I am still obsessing over. So why does my stupid brain insist on opeing a drawer, pulling out the file and re-playing every mistake I've made?
Everyone has a different way to stop themselves from beating themselves up from imagined slights and major incidences. Mine was prescription drugs for depression - one of the nice side effects was no more beating myself up about stupid stuff. Now, I am no longer on the drugs, and a new solution had to be invented. So, I distract myself. Usually with a happy thought. Through years of practice, I have got it down to where I force my brain to switch subjects - usually with a forceful sentence to remind me who I am and that those particular memories are not who I want to be nor are they who I am and brings me to my happy thought instantly. It's a lot shorter though - it used to be "DH loves me!" now it is "My name is vanilla!" It sounds stupid, but it seems to work and more than a few older memories have been purged from that stupid filing cabinet in my brain.
-------------------- I swear, it was funnier in my head. Yeah, I used to be pink. vanilla_pink. Posts: 2493 | From: California | Registered: Nov 2003
| IP: Logged |
You know, vanilla, that's a good point about depression. I've often wondered if I have mild dysthemia. Not enough to look for a diagnosis, but there are definitely symptoms and mental issues do run in my family (both sides).
When I find myself on the self-blame track, it's usually when I haven't had enough sleep or I'm stressed out, or both. I can often just let things go by telling myself that I know I'm tired and it will pass soon. Of course, it comes back, but I just deal with each time as it comes. Now if I could just get past that stupid incident from 2nd grade.
Oh gosh yes I beat myself up a lot.... Getting better at not doing it though.
Its not so much perfectionism. For me it was a matter of...trying to keep up with the crowd. Or actually...because I grew up as the "only deaf/vision impaired kid in the class/school/swim team/whatever" I was forever trying to "prove myself" to everybody...working twice as hard to match what they could do (when in reality I probably didn't have to...).
So...yeah...I'm always second guessing myself and playing the ole "what if" game and being hard on myself...