The "Getting Your Shit Together...Or Not" post got so much feedback that I decided to write a continuation of it. (If you haven't read it yet, you can find it in my "miscellaneous" tab). Also, after I'd published it, I thought of so many things that I could have and should have said to make it even better. So...this one is for all you people out there who are tired of justifying to other people why you are doing (or not doing) x, y, and z. My first bit of advice for you: you owe an explanation to no one but yourself.
That sounded ridiculous, right? Totally makes sense when you word it that way. Why do we get so upset with ourselves for making mistakes that we didn't know would be mistakes when we made them? It's time to cut ourselves some slack and stop beating ourselves up over honest mistakes. Let's remember that we are not puppets -- we do make our own decisions, but it's God who has those decisions laid out in our ultimate plan. These are mistakes that we are supposed to make. If we never messed up, we would never learn our lesson, and we would never do anything differently for the better. Look at your mistakes as blessings in disguise.
Some of the things we beat ourselves up over, though, aren't even mistakes. They're just the way of the world. This is important to remember, too. Here's an example...
Like most people, I gained a ton of weight my freshman year of college. Everybody warned me of the "Freshman 15," but I never thought it could happen to me. I was very, very wrong. I did not gain the Freshman 15 -- I gained the Freshman 24. I beat myself up over this for so long, exercising compulsively, feeling anxious and depressed that I did not have access to healthy foods, and therefore binging on unhealthy foods, sulking in my sadness and feeling sorry for myself. Health is important, and just because everyone else is gaining weight, too, doesn't mean that we should say "oh well!" and neglect our well-being. That being said -- gaining weight in college is not completely accredited to beer and pizza. As my mom explained to me, gaining weight at this time of my life is also because of my AGE. As a young adult, my body is naturally preparing itself for babies. I got big hips. Aside from weight puckering here and there, the SHAPE of my body changed. That is because I am a woman, not because I am a college student. As women... let's cut ourselves some slack and remember that there are things about our bodies that are not in our control.
School is another one. For a long time, and I still have these struggles, I dealt with depression and anxiety so badly that I physically did not have the strength to get out of my bed and do my schoolwork. If I did poorly on a test or I forgot to do my homework, it wasn't because I didn't care. Of course I care. It was because I was suffering from a disorder! My mind was somewhere else, and I didn't always have the focusing abilities to narrow it onto the important stuff. So no, people's commentary that I'm stupid or lazy isn't accurate, but I don't owe them an explanation. I only owe myself an explanation, and the reason for that is so that I can get to the root of my problem and work on fixing it. I don't need to justify to anyone that I struggle with mental health. It's no one's business. As people...let's cut ourselves some slack for our personal and emotional struggles.
Sometimes I forget to do important things that my mom asked me to do, and it inconveniences her when I forget. Well, my room is a mess, I have tons of schoolwork that I'm stressing over, and I have to do ten million things by midnight. I'm gonna cut myself some slack.
Sometimes I have horrible, horrible self-image issues. Well, I've had strep throat this week so I didn't have the physical energy to go to the gym and tan, I don't have a car at school, so I don't always keep up with my hair and nails, and things about my body are the way they are because of my genes, not because I'm doing something wrong. I'm a Feaga, I have a big butt. I'm a Larimore, I have no boobs. I'm gonna cut myself some slack.
Disclaimer: just because I'm cutting myself slack doesn't mean it's okay to not take any responsibility for my mistakes and for things that I can work on improving. It just means that at the end of the day, hating myself for things that are out of my control is an incredible waste of energy, and feeling like I owe an explanation to the world is very, very backwards.
Today I challenge you to cut yourself some slack for at least one thing that you are giving yourself a hard time about. Find the real root of the problem and work on fixing it, instead of compiling a list of flaws and sulking in self-pity. Which of those seems more beneficial? That's what I thought.
Share this post in hopes that women will read and feel empowered today. Lift yourself up, and lift each other up.