How many times a day do you “should” on yourself? I should have got up earlier, I should have exercised before work, I should have said no to that jelly doughnut, I should have been kinder to my kids….
The thing is, everything we do, we do for a reason. I’m exhausted, and needed some extra sleep. I didn’t want to offend the colleague who made the extra effort to bring doughnuts for everyone in the office. I really need the kids to help me out by cleaning up after themselves.
When we beat ourselves up for not doing something, we are ignoring the other side of the equation – we chose our actions for a reason. Human beings are incredibly creative, and it’s amazing when you think about how we compute and calculate all the different variables in our lives and come up with behaviours to try to balance all the many things we want to achieve.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I can’t benefit from examining how successful my chosen behaviours are in achieving my goals. Perhaps barking directions at my kids as I ran out the door is going to prove to not be as effective as I hoped. I’m pretty sure with some careful consideration, I’m going to be able to come up with an approach that might get my kitchen clean without making my kids want to run away from home.
Instead of thinking of yourself, or others, as being bad – consider what it is that your chosen behavior was trying to achieve. Honor the fact that you came up with a pretty creative solution in a split second to try to reach your goals. And rest assured that when you have more than a split second to think, you’ll be able to come up with a better approach when things don’t go quite as you hoped!