Don’t Be a Jerk – Especially to Yourself

We all know that one jerk. The one who yells at the little old couples and children because they’re just doing things little old couples and children do.  The one who, despite how nice you’re being and how cautious you are on the road, will give you the finger because he cut you off. What a grade-A jerk, right?

So if the crap he’s doing is assholery at its finest, then why is it that you can get away with being just as much of an assehole to yourself?

That’s right. I caught you. I caught you telling yourself how useless and stupid and weak you are whenever you eat that cookie or miss paying that bill or stay in bed instead of going out for a run. I know what you’re thinking when you think how you would be happy if only you could stop being the person you are right now.

And guess what? That’s okay. It’s okay to get mad at ourselves. It’s okay to be frustrated with the journey we’re on. It’s natural and it’s human.

Being upset is not in any way bad. However, being abusive is.

I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to be abusive to myself. I absolutely would never abuse someone else, but for some reason, I’m okay with doing all of that to myself.

Do you know what abusers think of the people they abuse? They think those they abuse are nothing. They think that they are the punching bag for their own frustrations. They are wrapped up in their own emotions and lack of control that the other person as a human with agency and feelings doesn’t even register. To myself, I am both abuser and abused.

And I want out.

I am worn down mentally and emotionally by the abuse I constantly dump on myself in freaking butt loads. And I’ve had enough. And I’m lucky in this regard because unlike someone who is being abused by another person, I have the ability to change this for myself. I have the ability to stop abusing and stop being abused.

We are all on a journey and this journey is far from easy. We are climbing that mountain that has no summit. We are all climbing toward a goal we will never reach. And that’s okay. Because the climb up the mountain is the goal. And as you climb, there will be times when you fall.

If you fall down, dust yourself off and climb again. There’s no sense in punching yourself in the face because you tripped. It’s a bumpy path. It happens.

What would you say to a child who is learning to ride her bicycle but has fallen off? What would you say to her if she decided to quit every time she fell?

You are the child.

When we garden, we do what’s best for our plants. We plant it and feed it and nourish it so that it bears the best fruit. We don’t dump it out and stomp on it because it’s not growing fast enough.

You are the plant.

You are a freaking human being who has the basic human right to be treated with kindness and respect.

How can you fail if you refuse to see anything less than perfect as failure?

So do me a favor. Try not to be a jerk to yourself. And even if you mess up on that sometimes, forgive yourself. The more you learn to love yourself, the less likely you are to continue down the path of self-abuse. You can do this. I believe in you.


Some ways you can be more forgiving to yourself:

1. Eat the cake. Enjoy the cake. Love the cake. Rub the cake all over your face. Then have a shower and have something that nourishes you next time around.

2. Go on that run. But instead of trying to be fast or to beat your mileage, try just running for the hell of it. Run like Phoebe in that one episode of Friends. Run with the purpose of enjoying that run.

3. If you’re injured nourish your injury. Don’t get mad at your injury that’s really silly. Find other ways to make sure you heal fast and get back out there with renewed energy.

4. Do something you love instead of something you think you should do. Seriously. Just turn off the computer, put down the phone, and go and do that thing. Or don’t. As long as it’s something you truly want to do and not something you’re doing to avoid that thing you think you should be doing.

  1. Get back on that bicycle and ride until the next time you fall. And then get on and ride again.

How can you be kinder to yourself?


Photos: Army Photography: Follow the Light by LT COL Neal Schneider and Tree Knot by Alejandro Forero Cuervo


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