Do you cut yourself too much slack? It’s okay to let yourself splurge sometimes; you don’t need to be so hard on yourself, of course. But, being too lax can end up negatively affecting you down the road.
The interesting thing about consequences is that they don’t always show up immediately. If you are too easy on yourself in high school, you kick yourself when it’s time to get into a decent college. If you party too much during college, then you find yourself floating aimlessly after you graduate. That’s if you graduate.
We can let ourselves have “cheat days” where we eat whatever we want, but we must make sure those cheat days don’t grow. The fact is if we’re too soft on ourselves, we allow excuses to remove accountability and responsibility. When we don’t hold ourselves accountable it becomes too easy to procrastinate and avoid our priorities. Sometimes we sabotage our potential because we don’t think we’re good enough or that we don’t deserve success. So, we allow ourselves to slack off and thus fail.
We can equally be too hard on ourselves. I tend to fall into this camp and I’m sure many of you do, too. When I lived in Colorado Springs for about a year, I became an avid hiker. My dog Abraham and I hiked Waldo Canyon (before the fires) about six days a week. No exaggeration. I became so good, I had all the trails memorized and could do them at night without headlamps. I purchased a doggie rain jacket and garbed myself in my own so downfalls wouldn’t sideline us. This is a seven-mile hike at 8,150 elevation. I was training for what would be an amazing six-hour hike up Pikes Peak, my first and only 14,000-plus elevation hike.
I’m not a skier but, I also tried that too. Hey, you can’t live in Colorado without trying out the snow. Then, on a bunny slope, no less, I wound up falling so hard that I had to get taken via gurney off the mountain. My knee hurt like it never hurt before, and being hard on myself, I told my body to toughen up. I didn’t get it checked, the pain went away and that was that. However, I continued to fall or collapse on it. Long story short, I just found out that I not only have a torn meniscus, but a torn ACL in my right knee. The doctor said I actually have no ACL remaining. I will likely need surgery and now my left knee is also tweaking. It feels like a meniscus tear in my left knee, as well, which could also require surgery.
Regardless, I walked 40 miles a week all throughout my pregnancy on both deteriorating knees. My sister the nurse was surprised that I was successful at carrying my daughter without any further serious injury.
Let’s just say the way I am with my knee is the way I am with everything. I push myself and push myself. Sometimes that’s great but other times life forces you to take it a little easy.
The Bottom Line:
You could fall into the “too easy on yourself” category or if you’re like me, the way too hard on yourself camp. I think the first step is to acknowledge that you’ve got to find your way towards the middle. We have to be tough on ourselves to push towards achievement and have the follow through in order to succeed. But, we also need to know when to cut ourselves a little slack.
I prefer to be harder on myself because at least I know I am setting goals and achieving them. When you’re too easy on yourself, you lack the motivation and drive to follow through to the finish line. When it comes to your body and an injury, the lesson that I’ve learned is to not let an injury go without getting checked for years. As I did with my knee, it went unchecked for like six-plus years. It’s okay to push yourself, just know your limits and your body. It’s all about being balanced, knowing when to work and knowing when to schedule relaxation time.
We’re either too easy on ourselves or way too hard. Balance is key and possible, but it’s often extremely challenging obtaining it.