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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My Own Harshest Critic

The other day, the puppy in my office was curled up in my lap, cuddling and having fun. So one of my co-workers brought the digital camera over and took a couple pictures. He then printed them out in color and posted them on our bulletin board. Today, another co-worker came up to me and complimented me on the pictures, remarking on how photogenic I am. Another chimed in, telling me what a great smile I have, so that it's easy to take pictures of me. It's funny, because that wasn't quite my reaction to the picturess. I saw them, and was kind of embarrassed, noticing that my hair was really curly that day, that I had chosen my ultra-casual sweatshirt, not the most flattering of things to be photographed in and that the photographer had gotten my profile, which I have never loved. This is symptomatic of a greater problem - others often give me much more credit than I am willing to give myself. I know I am not alone in this - I have had the conversation with others, where I am convincing them that the horrible flaws they see in themselves are, in fact, part of being human. I hold myself to a very high standard, probably because I know what I am capable of if I really put my mind to it. But it's often hard to really put your mind to things, to really push yourself to do all work and no play. And it's okay, we are human, and therefore, not meant to be perfect. There are two ironic aspects of this. The first is that, though I hold myself to such a high standard and give myself a very hard time when I make mistakes, I don't do this to others. I give the benefit of the doubt to them, I encourage them to forgive themselves, I let them know it's okay to not be perfect. The second bit of irony is that although I recognize this in others, I have trouble following my own advice. With this and many other things - it's so much easier when you can be objective, which you just can't be with yourself. Why am I so hard on myself? I don't consider myself a perfectionist. I know I am human, and that I have things to work on, many things. Why can't I accept these facts and give myself a break? Why am I able to give others the benefit of the doubt, but not myself? Again, I think part of it is because I know what I could do if I put my mind to it. I know that I have a lot of potential and a lack of discipline that gets in the way of my accomplishing what I could. But I think often I am nicer to others than I am to myself. Maybe because I know I won't lose me, I won't (can't) turn my back on myself if I am hard on myself, and I am scared of losing others. Whatever it is, I think it would be easier to treat myself the same way I treat others. Give myself some leeway, focus on the good and positive. I do try to. And I hope my similarly harsh-on-themselves friends will do the same.

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