When times are tough, and some piece of you is chipped and broken, it’s easy to feel like everything – ALL of you – is broken along with it. But that’s not true.
We all have this picture in our minds of ourselves – this idea of what kind of person we are. When this idea gets even slightly harmed or threatened, we tend to react defensively and irrationally. People may question whether we did a good job, and this threatens our idea of being a competent person, so we become angry or hurt by the criticism. Someone falsely accuses us of something and this damages our idea that we’re a good person, and so we get angry and attack the other person, or we cower and cry. And the list goes on.
But the craziest thing is, oftentimes we are actually the ones harming and threatening ourselves with negativity and false-accusations…
Just this morning I was struggling to motivate myself to work on a new creative project I’ve been procrastinating on, so my identity of myself as someone who’s always productive and motivated and has great ideas suddenly came under attack. When I realized I wasn’t getting things done, it made me feel terribly self-conscious and upset because I began subconsciously worrying that I wasn’t who I thought I was. I felt like a slacker.
My solution was to realize that I’m not just one thing. I’m not always productive – sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m unproductive too. I’m not always motivated – sometimes I am, but other times I’m a bit lazy. And obviously I don’t always have great ideas either – because that’s impossible.
The truth is, I can be many things, and remembering this helps me stretch my identity so it’s not so fragile – so it doesn’t completely shatter when a small piece of it gets chipped. Then it doesn’t matter if someone occasionally thinks I didn’t do a good job, or if I sometimes catch myself not doing a good job – because I don’t always do a good job, but I always do my best in a given moment.
I make mistakes.
I am less than perfect.
And that’s perfectly OK.
Peace and Love, Jim