Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Acceptance and Expectations

I'm almost positive I've talked about this before, because it is something I've always found challenging. I just don't really understand the whole concept of self-acceptance or self-love or whatever you want to call it. I don't know how to push myself to be the best I can be without at least a tiny little bit of self-loathing.

How do you find motivation without that critical inner voice? I get to work and tell myself "ugh, don't be lazy" and "you will never succeed without working harder" and I get stuff done. I remind myself "you certainly do NOT need that" and poke at my belly to resist the urge to snack or get seconds.

If I start thinking "kindly" to myself, there is no incentive to change my habits.

I know the answer is to think of yourself as you would your kids or a good friend, you want them to be successful and healthy so you encourage the good habits without denigrating their character. I would never call or imply that anyone  else is "lazy" or "fat". I know that positive reinforcement  is way more effective than criticism.

That inner voice, she's a hard-core bitch. But she can be effective. Until I tell her to fuck off and there go the good habits again. Its an endless cycle and I need to get off that ride. How does one expect more for themselves  while still accepting that they are "enough"?


  1. I think... you have to start believing in yourself, that things will work out fine, even if it’s not what you expected when you started. You start realizing that nobody is perfect, and that what you are is pretty damn fantastic all things considered. That working harder isn’t always the answer. Sometimes if you can relax you get flow. Sometimes things just suck and you have to trust they will get better, just as you know when you’re riding high on some recent accomplishment that thjngs will get worse again.

  2. I have struggled with myself. I think the difference between the bitch voice message and the self-compassionate one is that the bitch voice berates you for not doing what it wants you to do. “You better workout or you will get fat and hate the way you look.” (That is my bitch voice) while the self-compassionate voice frames things differently, “You know you will feel better if you work out, and even though it’s hard to get started, you won’t regret it once you do.” I find the bitch voice to be effective sometimes, but a lot of time another bitch voice shows up and is like, BITCH, I will work out if I damn well want to! Because I really hate being told what to do, or bullied into doing it. The compassionate voice can certainly be annoying too. But I think I’m more likely to see its point, even if begrudgingly.

    For me the self-compassion piece usually helps me see the bigger problem (I am not gaining weight because I’m a slovenly asshole, but because my metabolism is slowing and social events are centered around food and late at night I’m genuinely hungry, so what are some strategies I can embrace to counteract those realities?) Maybe accepting a new weight and shape is part of it because I don’t have the time and energy to workout as much as I need to to have the body I used to have. Or maybe I don’t care enough to constantly deny myself the foods I love. I feel like the self-compassionate voice helps me find a path, while the bitch voice ultimately makes me feel shitty about myself, without offering much constructive (or realistic) advice.

    Also, the self-compassionate voice can be stern. “You made a promise to yourself not to eat this shit. Do you really want to break that promise?” And it can be disappointed, it just doesn’t equate myself worth with what I do.

    Sorry if this is preachy. I don’t mean to imply that I have this all figured out, because I don’t, but it is something I’ve read about and worked on a lot, because I’m tired of being a bitch to myself. I’ve done that for so many years.

  3. I think your third line raises an important question: "Why is it important to be the best that you can be?" Who says that the goal in life is to maximize your achievements at work and live as long as you can, even if you have to hate what you're doing and hate yourself a little bit to do so?

    Personally, my approach is to recognize that everything in life is an exchange. Skipping dessert may be healthier, but it means a loss of pleasure. Working more may earn me more money and respect, but at the expense of time and energy. There is no right answer to how much ice cream one should sacrifice in the interest of a smaller waistline, or how much sleep one should give up to earn a call's all a matter of personal choice and priority.

  4. Your last couple posts (and ensuing silence) suggest you have quite a lot on your mind. Thinking of you - hope you are hanging in.