It was a weekend morning. I had gotten a good night’s sleep and actually took my time getting out of bed. As I lay there, I took a few long breaths, stretched out my limbs, and realized the sun was shining. It was going to be a good day.
After those few moments, I got up and, as I do every morning, I began to make the bed. With one quick swoop, I straightened out the comforter. Just as I did, the corner of the bed spread clipped the half-glass of Gatorade I had sitting on the night stand. Over it went, down the side of the blanket and onto the floor. “Shiitttt!!!” I exclaimed as I viewed the once white sheet now soiled with yellow. Quickly, I grabbed the comforter and rushed to the bathroom to soak the down-filled mess. “So dumb, soo dumb.” I was of course referring to myself. I returned to the bedroom where my boyfriend and I set up some fan-chair tent-like concoction to remedy the situation. “Ok, can’t do anything more,” I thought, but I couldn’t help feel a little stupid and mad at myself for ruining my previously lovely morning.
Moments later, I made my way to the kitchen. Now laughing about the bedroom fiasco, I grabbed for the apple juice. As I did, the handle fell just out of my grasp and the gallon jug o’juice tumbled over. As if in slow motion, I reached to try to stop the disaster from happening. “F**K!!” I screamed. As this was the second episode in a 15 minute period, the expletives were increasing in intensity as were the internal thoughts I was having. “What the hell is wrong with me? Am in fact the world’s biggest klutz? How could I do something so stupid?” As I stood there watching the juice spread throughout the refrigerator and all over the kitchen floor (which was of course going to take several moppings to clean up), I was disappointed in myself for creating such a mess.
The rest of the day, and actually for several days afterward, I moved in a robotic fashion, careful of every movement, aware of every thing I touched, and sure that it was all going to end in disaster.
On the flip side of this story, that is, from my boyfriend’s perspective, everything was just fine. As we carried the tarnished blanket to be soaked, he assured me it would come out. When he entered the kitchen and observed the now pee-yellow floor, he chuckled at the coincidence.
In the past, my reactions to these situations have been a lot worse, if you can believe that. This time, I was actually able to laugh at the day’s events later on, but in the immediacy I was unable to let myself off the hook.
Fast forward a few days to some conversations I had with various friends of mine. As I listened to their stories, I realized a common theme: critical self-defamation. And these friends are by no means whiners. They are strong, independent women living real stress-filled lives. In talking with them, I was not only willing to lend an ear, but I was also easily able to share a perspective that didn’t include the situations being their fault.
How is it that we can so easily love another and not so easily love ourselves the same way? I never once think of them as stupid or blame them for whatever difficulty they are facing. And when our situations are reversed, they do the same for me, giving 100% acceptance.
So why do we do this to ourselves?
Is it because we hold ourselves to a certain standard that we would not even think about imposing on someone else? “I should know better, I should be better than this.” Who says? We say? If so, why do we say this? Maybe it’s because we feel the societal pressure to be a certain way. “So and so (insert any mother, friend, or mentor’s name here) would never do this!” Do we know for certain that this or that would never happen to someone else? Could it be possible that we are not the only imperfect creatures living in this earthly existence?
Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda…these are standards hovering in a fabricated existence that we often introduce into our reality. Stuff happens, not only in our daily lives, but in the lives of everyone we know. Often times, it is not our fault, it just simply is.
I came across a quote just as I was beginning to write this story:
“If you had a friend who talked to you like you sometimes talk to yourself, would you continue to hang around with that person?”– Rob Bremer
I couldn’t help but nod at the thought.
Next time something doesn’t go as planned or you find yourself wanting to crawl in a hole, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, go ahead and yell a couple four-letter words if you want (this is what us imperfect creatures sometimes do) and then think about what you would say to a friend if they were in this situation. Be a friend to yourself and practice some self-love. Maybe, just maybe, you can even find a way to laugh at the extraordinary predicament. After all, stupid is just another word for silly. And on that fine day of spilled stickiness, I was not stupid; I was simply dexterity-challenged.
Beth is a National Certified Counselor and Trained Life Coach. Founder of Inrevision Life Strategy Consulting, Beth works with individuals and groups who are ready to revise their life plan, regain their focus and renew their sense of self. For more information, go to www.inrevision.com or contact Beth at 310-699-2374 or [email protected]
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