“You’re too hard on yourself.” A good friend said this to me at a dinner last year in downtown Austin. For three years, he had seen my minuscule contributions to society in comparison to my peers, and he was deeply concerned that I was down on myself in a destructive way.
I get it. You can tell yourself lies or browbeat yourself until you feel like a worthless human being. But sometimes the approach you take can be misunderstood by those closest to you.
Sometimes brutal honesty is necessary. Sometimes you have to ensure that you aren’t letting yourself get away with laziness, cowardice, or sloth. It’s called holding yourself accountable. To others, it may sound like condemnation or shaming. But it could be something else.
I remind myself how I’m not as productive as other husbands I know. I haven’t earned the money or the respect or the influence they have because I haven’t put in the work. I haven’t worked as hard or as smart. By saying that, I’m not down on myself. But bare naked honesty is necessary in order to set the ball of change in motion.
You need momentum. For me, and perhaps for you, that momentum begins by saying out loud how rock bottom I am. Honesty is envigorating. It’s liberating.
We can spend a ridiculous amount of time carrying the burden of a facade, whether it pretends competency, affluency, or confidence. It takes up emotional energy you need in order to break a pattern of negative behavior.
Owning up to your shit clears those weights right off.