I think everyone would have an answer if you asked that person, “What improvements would you like to make about yourself?” Admittedly, a lot of my thought revolves around, “How could I have done that better?”
The problem is that gradually my thinking transitioned from a gentle, guiding force to a tyrannical oppressor. It took a turn into a toxic dump that not even Michael Moore researching a documentary would enter. My thinking went from, “How can I improve?” to “Why did you do that?!?!?! That was bad of you!” in a really scary school teacher voice that makes you hot with embarrassment and know that your crush Tommy Tompkins is DEFINITELY not interested in you.
I became very critical of myself, and it was a slow process over many eons. Now, I’m sure some of you are reading this thinking, “Duh, Suzanne…you’ve got to love yourself…” OR ARE YOU AND IT’S JUST ME HATING MYSELF AGAIN?!?!?!
Anyway…I feel as though I’ve turned a corner. Well, maybe not turned a corner…more like taken an exit from the roundabout of self-hate. Instead of being mad at myself for failing, I started to be really proud of myself for the things I did right. I focused on the good things and tried to spend as little time as possible focusing on my failures…AND GUESS WHAT?!?!! It’s been at least 4 days since I’ve really hated myself…and that’s a record.
I think this has been really important for me to learn because I spend so much time alone. As a comic/writer, I spend a lot of the day at my computer trying to write things. So if you’re a prisoner of your own thoughts and not interacting with anyone to distract you, then the negative can quickly take you to the Pit of Despair where they only serve steaming piles of, “This is how you could have done that better,” and young Westley is nowhere to be found.
Yes…it is a simple shift, and you’d think that I’d have thought of it sooner. I say that because I take/eat gummy probiotics. Gummy probiotics are the physical embodiment of positive reinforcement. They say, “Here’s some sugar to reward you for sending millions of probiotics into your gut. Well done, you!!!” Positive reinforcement in bottle with a fun lion cartoon on the front.
I’ve got to go because one of the items on my “to-do” list today is to dance for at least 5 minutes. If I accomplish that, then I’ll be extremely proud of myself.