Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No one is perfect here

I started beating up on myself last night when I went to my Advanced Piloting course.  I hadn't picked up the plotter in about nine months, and it felt like a foreign object in my hands.  All of a sudden,  I felt panic and fear as I was doing a simple refresher exercise.  What if I can't figure this simplest of problems out?  What if someone sees me struggling?......What if I fail?

The instructor said he could see that some of us needed to get reacquainted with the plotting tool.  And indeed, I wasn't the only one who was trying to remember how to orient it.  I wanted to grab my parallel rules, but we are supposed to be using this more accurate device that isn't at all intuitive to me.  So we were supposed to go home and practice with it, doing the exercise until we could use the tool quickly and proficiently.

So far,  I haven't done any practicing because I spent most of the day taking my mother-in-law for a doctor's appointment and lab work.  Then there were things to do when I got home at nearly 3 PM.  I knew that today was going to be a full day.  I wasn't feeling particularly jovial and found myself feeling exasperated and impatient.  Even though I spent almost five hours with her,  bought her lunch and some fried chicken for their dinner this evening,  and visited for a while after I took her home, I still felt like I was a jerk. 

Beating myself up used to be a regular thing.  And that's why the first person on my amends list was me.  I needed to forgive myself for all the guilt and harsh thoughts that I had about myself.  I know intellectually that no one is perfect.  I realize that nothing earth shattering is going to occur if I have to re-familiarize myself with something I haven't worked with for nine months.  But it's my ego that brings up the voice inside my head that whispers, "You're not good enough."  Those old messages are the ones that sneak back to break me down and send me into despair.

So I am writing this down here, "I am not perfect and can forgive myself for my humanness." It is a reminder that I will make mistakes, look foolish, fumble, and struggle.  But I don't have to feel bad.  I can forgive myself and let it go.  And in making mistakes and admitting them,  I align myself more with others.  By being kind to myself,  I can then be kinder to others.

Now I'm going to see if I can plot a course with the plotting tool!

Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands.  But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny.  ~Carl Schurz,  1859

Some of us, observing that ideals are rarely achieved, proceed to the error of considering them worthless. Such an error is greatly harmful. True North cannot be reached either, since it is an abstraction, but it is of enormous importance, as all the world's travelers can attest ~Steve Allen


  1. Ah- sounds like we are both thinking the same things today. Compassion towards ourselves will lead to far more positivity for life in general than wasting our time beating ourselves up.

  2. OK. Let's see.
    You're beating yourself up for helping another person instead of practicing part of your hobby?

  3. smiles. we can def be our own worst enemies...a good lesson here syd...

  4. My late dad use to say the last perfect being that walked on this earth was nailed to a cross.God knows I am far from perfect.

  5. Ah yes that voice in our head... I can relate. Placing ourselves at the top of the amends list is a good place to be. Sounds like an interesting class! Enjoy!

  6. i remember an ajahn brahn talk on anger and he said that he noticed that monks were crabby and had verbal run ins and the like the morning after the 'all night sitting' meaning the night they were supposed to stay up for HOURS meditating. meaning he discovered that it was tiredness that made them crabby and argumentative. it sounds like you've been very busy pulling an all night, so like the monks, weren't at your best.. I do not find it easy to get to bed at 10pm but disciplining myself to do that makes a HUGE difference to how I feel as I wake at 6am feeling rested. Messing up sleep for any reason makes it hard, so thats probably why you see a different side of yourself when you have had a really full on day.. Glad you are able to have compassion for yourself.
    I've been listening to this and it has some useful stuff about dying, but not now as you're very busy :) Joan Halifax: Being With Dying, and Being with Dying
    Contemplative Practices and Teachings
    Joan Halifax

    Good luck with that course! looks cool :)

  7. We are all enough just as we are. But I sure hear those words in wind telling me I'm not. Takes practice to keep them from taking over!

  8. New technology can be amazing, but forever changing, whereas there is something solid and reassuring in the photograph of the map, compass and rule. As they say, Make new friends, but keep the old. Some are silver, while others gold.

    You are doing many good things for your in-laws. My mother is old now and getting frailer, and I think that is what tugs at the heart making me feel that I can never do enough, probably because I can't turn back time and make her strong again.

  9. Reminds me of what Louisey said yesterday..a conscious life is demanding, painful, frustrating. But, oh the rewards!!

    You are blessed to have the free time to care for your mother in law AND care for yourself;)

  10. Is that you in the pic Syd?

    Here's another imperfect human being waving to you from across the earth

  11. Reminds me to take the Navigation, Charting & GPS Course my local United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla is offering. Can't just rely on GPS if it goes down.

  12. Bashing ourselves only intensifies whatever we happen to be feeling at the time.

  13. I think because I am older I have more skills and feel like I can tackle anything. When I come across something new that I not so comfortable with then I get frustrated. It is part of learning something new so I have to get over myself.

    Good luck.

  14. Yep...know EXACTLY what you mean. I'm glad I'm not alone. Still learning and growing my poker skills. Still feel foolish and inept but getting better.

  15. One of the first things my sponsor did with me was address my fear of failure and low self-esteem. He put it very eloquently: All humans are born with yearning. It is when yearning attaches to shame that it grows into our disease because shame combined with yearning produces obsessions and compulsions that result in the coveting of our reality and addictive behaviors. These compulsions lead to more shame- and thus the cycle continues. So, for him, the root of addiction is shame and shame is antithetical to recovery for this reason because a person cannot simultaneously recover and feel shame. Shame moves us into the past and acceptance moves us into the future.

  16. I just want to say thanks for your comments on my blog. They have been very helpful.

  17. No one is perfect anywhere. I don't mind the occ. exhausted & defeated though, since it makes the good stuff that much sweeter.

  18. Thanks Syd, for sharing both your thoughts and photos, I feel like I'm getting a two-fer every time you post!

    Delta32, I am copying your post, very interesting take in addiction that I shall have to ponder and apply. Thank your sponsor for me. :-)

  19. I'm reading Dr. Paul O's book, You Can't Make Me Angry. I read and re-read a simple phrase and found a comfort that I've not felt in a long time. I judge myself, and often others (although I don't like to admit it) mercilessly. I am
    harder on me than anyone else. And not too forgiving of myself
    either. But then....I read this:

    "God doesn't recognize a past or a future. Everything happens in the present for God. When we mind-trip into the past or future we travel alone. God doesn't go with us, or so I choose to believe.
    I have also made the decision to believe that you and I and every one of us have been doing the best we could at every moment of every day of our lives, up to and including this moment. If we could have done better, we would have done better."

    Thanks for all you write here, Syd!


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