Let's talk for a minute about self-loathing.
You got uncomfortable just reading that didn't you. Me, too. It's just not polite to loathe. And to admit you do it, even aimed at yourself, is pretty unpleasant.
Self loathing is good at camouflage. It disguises itself as perfectionism, frustration, anger, depression, tough love, despair and narcissism. [Some of these incarnations are more socially acceptable than others.] At its heart is the fear that you just don't measure up. So you need to try harder. HARDER! But you'll probably never measure up, so what's the point of even trying? And if you have enough gumption to fight back at these ridiculous expectations, then you might find yourself pretty angry at the person treating you this way....which is yourself, so that can get ugly.
After a particularly unfortunate weekend a while back, I found myself mired in despair, convinced I was a bad person doomed forever to live a life of failure.
It sounded plausible in my head.
It does not sound plausible in real life to other humans. I know because I asked them. And they gave me this fabulous list of coping mechanisms:
- Go for a walk.
- Call a friend or connect with someone somehow.
- Listen to music.
- Eat chocolate. [This one came up a lot.]
- Accept that it's been a bad weekend, but that it's going to be OK.
- Do the serenity prayer.
- Remind yourself that it isn't going to last forever. 'This, too, shall pass'.
- Eat well.
- Sleep well or take a nap.
- Let that one go and start tomorrow with a smile.
- Fake it till you make it.
- Make a mosaic project where you need to break dishes to relieve the stress.
- Confront your fears head on and see what is temporary, what is insurmountable, where you can change course.
- Remember why you started this path in the first place.
- Do something small that has been nagging at you. Do it well and celebrate the accomplishment. That moves a task from the Annoying column to the Accomplished column.
- Those single serving pints of Haagen Daz that fit so nicely in one's left hand with a single spoon in one's right.
- Light a candle.
- Do a short meditation.
- Pull out your affirmations and spend some quality time with that list.
What do you do to cope when you are being unrealistically hard on yourself?
p.s. Most of the things on this list came from members of the fb group, The Well Balanced Artist. If you're a creative of any kind looking for this kind of support, head on over and join. We'd love to have you.