Words in My Head

Spilling on the page...

Tag: critic

Accepting Compliments is Impossible

One of the challenges I have had to try and overcome in the last 25 years has been accepting compliments from people. And yes, I know that sounds weird.

Many years ago at a Christmas party, we had a “Talent Show” of sorts and I sang and played guitar on stage. We did it two separate years and I don’t remember which year it was, whether it was when Dave G and I played “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel, or another year when I performed but honestly don’t remember what I sang. Might have been a Christmas song even. But the daughter of a coworker complimented me on the performance and I essentially rebuffed it, telling her I was crap. Her response was that I really needed to learn how to take a compliment.

She wasn’t wrong.

These days I have become a bit better at it, choosing to say “thank you” and leave my own opinion out of my response. But inward, I’m still harsh and usually tell myself all sorts of entertaining stories to convince myself it’s not true.

Today, for instance, Coach Drea complimented my ability to push through today’s workout, noting that she can see the change that’s come from the changes we’ve been doing through the nutrition challenge. And I said “thank you” and let it go at that as I cleaned up my equipment. But on the way home, inwardly it was a different story.

Let me preface this next part by saying this has NOTHING TO DO with Drea. She’s an amazing person and coach and I value her has a friend, this is just purely my brain ticking off the ways she must be wrong. So again, I’m not saying any of this crap is true — the opposite in fact.

Watching my inner dialog, I questioned her intent.  She was encouraging me as a coach simply because it was her job to do so and she wanted me to continue paying my monthly membership fees. She was encouraging me because she wanted me to continue on the nutrition challenge and not give up (we’re on day 12 of a 62 day challenge).

Let’s walk through the bullshit factor in those statements. The nutrition challenge is free to members. I’ve been a member for nearly 5 years, so it’s not like that’s going to change unless something drastic happens. She is ALWAYS very positive and every day asks how we’re doing, what she can do to help, and is a wonderful person.

Her intent is pure. But inwardly I still beat myself up about various things. I could have done better. I can always do better. I should have run more. I should have done more weight or larger sets. I should do more mobility to take care of the grip issues plaguing my left hand and forearm.

As a result, her compliments were meaningless to my inner dialog because the inner critic rules the roost most of the time. How’s that for twisted?

I was even encouraging to every other athlete at the box this morning — cheering on Carrie, Logan, and Nick as they fought through the same workout I was doing. It was easier than listening to the supportive comments from other athletes like Caleb & Bill who were cheering me on.

Yeah, my brain is a mess.

Several weeks  ago, Coach Nicole asked me to focus on the positive in my write-ups more than the negatives. It’s something I need to do more often.  Nit-picking is so much easier than looking for the good things that are all around and within me. Family. Friends. Happy things. Life is good if I look at it the right way. There will always be issues, but the good usually outweighs the bad.

So moving forward, I am working VERY hard on being more positive. Accepting things as they are in the moment. And being more thankful for the positive vibes I get from those around me.

An impossible task? Perhaps. But it’s time to make some changes. I fight change constantly, though it’s truly the only constant in the universe.

Who’s with me?

Beating Myself Up

I thought about titling this one “The Art of Self-Flagellation” but I kept thinking of the character Silas from the Da Vinci Code and decided maybe it wasn’t a good comparison. You may disagree when I’m done.

Nobody is better at tearing me down than I am. Years and years of practice attempting to control the world around me through willpower. We all know how that goes. Ultimately I can control exactly one thing… me. And sometimes even that’s a challenge I’m not up to.

Today I am dealing with a few extenuating circumstances that led to an unsettled mental state:

  • Going on a week-long business trip. (Always stresses me out.)
  • Not sleeping well. (May have squeaked out 3 or 4 hours last night if I was lucky.)
  • Haven’t been eating well (less healthy than usual) or drinking enough water.
  • Drinking too much alcohol. (One, sometimes two drinks a night, which is unusual.)
  • Coming down with a cold on the eve of my trip.

All of these have led to less-than-stellar performance when I go to the CrossFit box. (No, I’m not going to talk about CrossFit here – if you want to know about my CrossFit experience I’d direct you to my CrossFitz blog.) And usually I just try to keep a positive attitude, do what I can do, and chug through it.

Today I quit during a workout. Could I have continued? Probably. I would have been slow as molasses and was having issues breathing right, but I probably would have finished after about 18 minutes or so.

Man Shouting Through Megaphone

The quitting is what is eating me alive now.

  • I walked out of the box after cleaning my equipment. I simply didn’t want to have to interact with anybody and explain why I had done so poorly.
  • I let myself down because I know I should have done better.
  • I took a protein recovery shake (a post-workout ritual) with me and decided I didn’t deserve it due to my poor performance.
  • I swore a lot during the workout and afterwards.
  • I decided that I really don’t deserve to eat lunch because of my poor performance either.
  • I’m upset as well with the fact that this is probably the last workout I’ll get in before I go on my trip, which means I’ll leave on a failure.

None of this is healthy. The critic is running rampant. And I need to let it go.

A healthy response would have been:

  • Accept that I wasn’t feeling up to snuff and bailed early on the workout.
  • Accept that I get a DNF (Did Not Finish) today and that it’s still better than DNS (Did Not Start).
  • Accept the minor victory that I accomplished a 2:09 400m run.
  • Challenge myself to do better next time.

I have finished Helen before. I will finish it again. Today was just not my day.

Or, as my Dad puts it: “Get mad, get glad, get on with yourself.”

Yes sir. I’m trying. Failing, but trying.

A little more self-compassion would be good. Just a little.

© 2017 Words in My Head

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑