Are you really hard on yourself?
Most of us are. There are a million reasons we ended up this way, most of them stemming from our childhoods. I had a hyper-critical mother and a father who worked all the time to avoid dealing with anything family related. I have fond memories of my childhood, but I also remember a lot of criticism, a lot of judgment, and a huge push to perform for praise. The only time I felt worthy was when my mother bragged about my accomplishments. That’s how I knew I was finally good enough for her. I didn’t fully realize it until I got older, but my upbringing was incredibly hard on me. I’m still nowhere close to recovering my ability to love and approve of myself.
This is my personal story – yours may be very different. The end result is that we are both adults who don’t understand that we don’t have to hate ourselves for making mistakes. Why would we believe that? All we learned as kids was that we only deserved love if we did something perfectly.
I know this is generational trauma and that my mother did not understand how to love me any differently, but that doesn’t make it hurt less.
I feel sad for her and sad for myself at the same time.
For me, fucking up is directly attached to my feelings of low self-worth and self-loathing. In my mind, making mistakes means that I am not a worthy person. It means that I don’t deserve my own love, let alone the love of others. It means that I am less than. It means that people will leave me.
In a straightforward logical manner, yes, this seems ridiculous. I would never treat another person as badly as I treat myself. I wouldn’t decide that someone important to me suddenly doesn’t matter because they screwed up.
On the other hand, I recognize my lineage in my tendencies. My grandmother was very hard on my mom, and in turn my mom was hard on me. I see that criticism and judgment in myself too, and I do not like it one bit. I don’t want to continue in the same vein, making the people who matter in my life feel like they aren’t good enough. The idea of doing that horrifies me, and yet I feel the tendencies rise up in me at the same time. It’s my learned behavior and it’s hard to shake. If my mother was supposed to be the person who loved me most, and she was also very critical and tough on me, then of course I equate criticism and judgment with love.
If this resonates with you on a deep, personal level, consider this. You are human. You are flawed and imperfect, and you’re gonna make some fucking mistakes. It’s inevitable. What if that’s okay?
What if you accepted the fact that you are not actually perfect, that mistakes will happen, and you let that be okay? Here’s the thing – slipping up is going to occur whether you like it or not. You can beat yourself up over it and waste your precious energy, or you can let it go, learn something, and do better next time. That’s what life is actually about – not being perfect at everything the first time around.
It’s so much easier said than done. All I’m asking is that you give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Give yourself the bare minimum you’d give someone else if they made a simple mistake – you deserve that. You’re allowed to screw up. I promise. You’re even allowed to feel lovable, and to be loved, if you aren’t perfect. Really. If you learn only one thing in your life I hope that it’s this: you are so very worthy of love, exactly as you are.
It’s okay to fuck up. It’s going to happen. Don’t hate yourself for it. It’s not worth it – take it from a recovering self-loather.
You got this. You are so perfectly imperfect. Be kind to yourself, sweet soul. I love you.