The second week of the Kindness Challenge focuses on self-compassion. Again, this is another area where I am challenged. It is so easy for to feel compassion towards others, and attempt to get them to see the better side of things. However, I do not show myself the same consideration.
I love giving gifts to people. I get into themes, or try to find unique or interesting pieces to give to people. Last month, I purchased some nice items for a friend, and wanted to include a DIY item as a gift topper. When it came time to wrap the gift, I realized that my personal stash of paper for this particular gift size was not enough. All that was left were rolls that didn’t apply to the occasion, and another roll that I didn’t particular like.
I wrapped the gift anyway, and in such a hurry that I was dissatisfied with the outcome. The paper wasn’t good enough. The wrapping job seemed sloppy to me. The bow didn’t look pretty enough. It looked hideous and amateur.
The worst of it came when I tried to do the DIY item. I just couldn’t do it. I have no idea why, but it just wasn’t working. It kept falling apart. It didn’t look like what it was supposed to. I spent hours on it, completely frustrated. I felt stupid. I felt disappointment. The frustration turned on the actual gift itself, and I was angry about how it looked in the paper that I didn’t love. It was a vicious cycle of self-deprecation – all over a gift.
Now, had this happened to someone else, I would told them that it’s what the gift inside that matters. The recipient would have appreciated anything, and the gift wrap was nice as it was. It’s the thought that matters right? Good intentions will always win.
Somehow, I couldn’t apply that to myself. I suppose it comes from high standards, a stubborn attitude and high expectations. I don’t want people to be disappointed in me. I want quality work the first time, and I beat myself up for mistakes. If I don’t do it right the first time, then I feel disappointment and shame.
Using this week’s prompts, I can see where I really need to learn self-compassion. I am not as horrible as I think I am. I am not failing. I am always striving to do my best, and that’s what matters. That’s what people will see. I always tell people that if they are really honest and have good intentions, then that’s what counts. I simply can’t apply that to myself.
It’s a hard lesson to learn. However, I am finding that in the weeks since that incident, I am getting better. I had some difficult deadlines at work this week; the work I had to submit wasn’t perfection, but it was what the project needed. I found that in not focusing on the shortfalls, the disappointment was temporary, and I was able to move on. I didn’t fail – I achieved what I was supposed to. People were happy with the results, and I was more relieved from not being so hard on myself. I was able to move on to the next thing. No huge emotional attachments or feelings of failure. I just set the feelings aside and moved on. Such a drastic change from the gift incident!
Again, this is a work in progress, and that’s what the kindness challenge is all about. Self-compassion has a huge impact on happiness and well-being. I’ll definitely continue to work on it!