When several old friends and I finally found time to see one another this week, they seemed to spend most of our time together beating themselves up.
"I wish I were a morning person," said one. "I should be."
"I'm a terrible procrastinator," said another. "I constantly promise myself to shape up and stop putting projects off, but I can't seem to stop it."
"The work I turn out is usually first-class, but I'm always so mad at myself for putting it off that I get no pleasure from knowing this," said a third.
And the fourth confessed: "I haven't been happy in my job for at least a year. I keep telling myself to stop being such a spoiled brat and be grateful that I have a job at all, but it doesn't help. I don't know what's the matter with me!"
Too many of us who are female still spend entirely too much time second-guessing, judging and criticizing the very person we should trust the most -- ourselves. Let's start giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt, instead.
If we aren't at our best in the morning, let's accept this about ourselves and schedule important meetings in the afternoon whenever possible.
If we really do perform just fine when the pressure's on, let's stop scolding ourselves about the supposed sin of procrastination, unless or until our work begins to suffer or our overall stress level hits the threshold of pain.
If we can't seem to concentrate on a particular project right now, let's stop wasting time scolding ourselves and give ourselves permission to put the project aside, instead.
Let's stop doubting and second-guessing ourselves about the larger issues, too. If it feels right to us to be unmarried right now, let's stop questioning and second-guessing ourselves; let's trust that we're doing what we need to do -- despite what our mothers may think!
If we feel restless and unhappy in our jobs -- and have felt this way long enough to know that it's not just a bad mood -- let's listen to our own feelings as closely and non-critically as we would a friend's.
There's a difference between being chronically self-indulgent and taking into account our own physical and emotional rhythms and needs.
Let's trust ourselves to recognize this difference and to make changes if we cross the line. We would give this much of benefit of the doubt to any friend; why not to ourselves?