An Exercise in Cutting Myself Some Slack

We are our own worst critics, the saying goes. I am notoriously hard on myself, possessing somewhat impossible expectations of who I am to be. I am a perfectionist and therefore a procrastinator (waiting until the last minute to do things so if they aren't perfect I have an excuse). And I continually berate myself for things left undone.

Even as a kid, I remember crying over grades and Bible verses I failed to memorize and unmade beds. My leadership qualities emerged early and I often felt so equipped for every position that I never turned anything down. I have a pattern of full speed to burnout, then isolation, then the whole thing over again.

I've loosened up quite a bit--now I organize but allow some clutter, write several drafts but stop before they are "final," and postpone tasks in favor of quality time. I am much less concerned with details. I have better boundaries and feel much more free to say no. I have lowered my expectations in a healthy way.

But these nagging feelings of never measuring up to my own standards still haunt me daily. I often calculate the worth of a day based on my productivity, not on the experience of it. I chronically compare myself to others, in what I call "reverse people pleasing"--that is, guessing what others expect or me and trying to live up to it. I have such grand dreams that when I encounter small failures I fear the dreams will never materialize in any form.

Today was one of those days when I felt at peace not doing everything. I felt alright just accomplishing what I did, enjoying the sunshine as I walked from place to place. Then tonight I crashed, I quickly came to the end of my rope, when the simple tasks I attempted felt so impossible. I found several reasons to label myself inferior.

And now I'm letting it go, choosing to let Christ's unconditional love be the standard by which I measure anything, including myself. "I am enough, I have enough, I do enough," goes the affirmation. I believe it's true, I just need some convincing sometimes.

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