In this season of thanks and gratitude, don’t forget to talk to yourself

By Natalie England – December 4, 2013

“There is no time to leave important words unsaid.

I recently came across this anonymous motivational quote, and it struck a chord within me, particularly as we as we enter the season of thanks and gratitude.

Naturally, I associate important words to important people, and the important people in my life are family and close friends, who I am fortunate to count on one hand. After some consideration,  I feel that they know my inner feelings and thoughts. Belated expressions of love, appreciation, respect, or admiration aren’t necessary — meaning, if I left this world tomorrow, I don’t have anything unresolved with anyone.

The exception is perhaps myself.

The only time I really talk to me is when I’m scolding: “You should have run a little harder, lifted a little longer,” or “Don’t eat that, don’t drink that, and definitely don’t look at that.”

We live in a competitive world, and that competitive culture commands that we always demand more of ourselves. Often, we become our own worst critics. Those ugly voices in my head I typically attribute to demons, but as I listen more closely, I wonder if the voices aren’t simply my own.

In this competitive world, it seems to come as a compliment to be considered a perfectionist. The desire to do something completely correctly, the first time and every time, is admirable. It’s also impossible. The human condition promises nothing but imperfection. So, is perfectionism  really anything more than an exaggeration of pride — some bloated arrogance created to fill the void created by questions about measuring up?

Those questions don’t really have any answers. The only solution is action, the one-step-at-a-time kind. But it’s hard to move sometimes when you’re paralyzed by the fear of taking the wrong step — of not being perfect.

Pride, the foolish kind anyway, is perhaps nothing more than the fear of being wrong. And then you’re locked in this ugly purgatory of stillness, of stagnancy. In that state, we are prone to reach for artificial stimulators with no substantive value, and then you’re just right back where you started. And you’re probably mad at yourself.

And all this started because you were afraid of taking one little step.

So, as you think with thanks and gratitude, don’t forget yourself. What do you have to say? Make sure you remember to encourage yourself along the way, and focus on what serves you.

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting. — Gautama Buddha



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