ROCKWALL, TX (May 12, 2023) Not sure yet if this lil’ column o’ mine has enough regular readers yet to recognize that I have been MIA for a few weeks. Weeks of illness coupled with mounds of work and community commitments waiting for me in between those bouts of sickness made for a very fatigued and unfocused mind. I tried to write. I tried to have ideas and important things to say to you but I had insurmountable writer’s block while getting back on my feet. I am not one who likes to fall off her game and not being able to get to all of my obligations and responsibilities causes me personal disappointment and agitation. That agitation can easily turn into anxiety and the personal disappointment into self-loathing, if I am not careful. It is simply too easy to beat myself up for missing the mark. Have you ever felt that way? You know, those moments where you secretly scold yourself asking “Why can’t I get it together?” or “What is wrong with me?”
I liken those behavior patterns to sidling up with our bullies in life. Those are the kinds of things the mean people say to us: why are you so weird, get it together, what is wrong with you? When those times when my life gets bigger than I know what to do with it, I simply refuse to enter into that mindset and instead choose one that rests on the opposite end of the spectrum. I could rail on myself when I drop the ball, I mean seriously- this column is important! You have clients who say they read it regularly and it has helped them! You can’t let them down! And What about your editor?? You made a commitment to her to have it turned in weeks ago! What does this say about your integrity and your values? Get it together, girl! Instead of that diatribe with myself, I choose reality. And that reality is, that yes I did drop the ball. Yes, people do read this column and it has helped some folks. Yes, people might be wondering what happened. Yes, you need to pick up speed and get back to things now that you can. And, I am human. Illness happens. Life gets in the way. This is the reality of things. The beat-myself-up pattern is not reality. That is enemy territory and does nothing to help oneself recover from a slip and fall.
Some things do not get done when life gets too big and staying on the other end of the spectrum is a lot like walking on the other end of the hall when you spy your bully down the way. The key is to not become a bully to yourself, to not join forces with those who make us feel less than and instead to come alongside ourselves, like a good friend and help yourself get back up and back on track. Id’ like to think that anyone reading this would not kick a friend when they are down. So then, why do we do it to ourselves?
Life is overwhelming at times. There are seasons when we must give yourselves a break and not join forces with the elements in us and our lives that make us feel like we have ruined everything. Because, we haven’t. Grace is something we pray for and give to others but often do not administer to ourselves. In this era of positive self-talk and self-care, we need to realize that the ultimate show of self-love is grace unto oneself. To step back and realize that yes, you dropped the ball but that means you can pick it up again. There may be consequences wrapped up in that but those are meant to be faced with grace as well. All too often we fall down and we don’t get back up because we are paralyzed by the lack of mercy we give ourselves when we make mistakes.
If you would not bully someone else, then where is the sense in bullying yourself? If you have failed at a task recently, or you are facing the shame that often comes with missing your mark, chin up friend. It happens. You are just like the rest of us and you only need to step away from that pattern of self-defeat and take steps forward to motivate yourself back to your best you.
Guest column by Erin Kincaid, Founder and Clinical Director of Rockwall Heath Counseling. She holds a host of degrees in Psychology, Christian Counseling, Anthropology and is working toward her PhD in Clinical Counseling.
Erin lives in Rockwall with her husband and son. Look for more of her guest columns here.