This year I am giving up self-criticism for Lent. I mean, it can’t be caffeine, wine is obviously out of the question, and my Jamberry addiction is really just in it’s infancy, so I have to find something…
I thought maybe I could use this season as a jump start to a new mental space where I give myself a bit of a break. In my last post I wrote about how I don’t care what other people think of me anymore, and that’s true. But I am still pretty harsh in what I think of myself.
I hold myself to ridiculous standards. Clearly not when it comes to keeping my house clean or washing my hair more than once a week. But I ruthlessly criticize myself for not being able to truly appreciate every moment with my kids while they are little and adorable, I mean I should be grateful that I am alive to be a part of their childhoods and frustrated at myself when I don’t feel that loving glow every second of the day. I project forward to when they are pain-in-the ass teenagers and I have turned into Beverly Goldberg and am clinging to them demanding “snuggies” and that I will regret that I didn’t cherish this time more. And if I slip and snap at one of the kids when I have asked them the same f-ing question 37 times and they still refuse to answer me, or if I yell “I don’t care, just figure it out” through the bathroom door while two three year olds are screaming that they need me, I beat myself up pretty badly about that later.
And it’s funny because my absolute favorite about being a Christian (yes, I’m out of the closet now, I love me some Jesus) is the concept of Grace. That you do nothing to earn it and there is no way to loose it. That is some pretty amazing stuff. Haha Amazing Grace, I totally wrote that not intending the pun but I’m gonna leave it here anyway.
And I am really good, like really good, at giving Grace. I don’t just give second or third, but 27th chances. I am able to look at someone who is being a total asshole and give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe his dog just died or he has some chronic pain that is not visible to the eye but eating away at his patience. Because I have been there, I have been someone who fell to pieces when my husband asked me to make a reservation because “it was all just too much!!!!” So I am very generous in my ability to forgive.
Except when it comes to me. I hold grudges against myself for things I did in the third grade. I’m not kidding. I obsess over the hurtful comments I made years ago that the person I hurt probably doesn’t even remember. These are things that I would easily forgive in another person, but refuse to do so for myself.
So that’s what I’m giving up this Lent. I am giving up (or going to try to give up) judging myself so harshly. I mean, I’m pretty great. I made it through the past four years when life kept dealing me blow after blow. And I survived. And I thrived. I still have hope, and optimism, and more faith than I ever did. And grace. So I am going to start using a little bit of that on myself.