Amy Rees Anderson

Our Own Worst Critic

Most all of us are our own worst critic. We pick ourselves apart, we put ourselves down, we stress over every flaw and imperfection. And heaven knows we women are far worse than the men when it comes to vocally putting ourselves down, although I happen to believe that men are just as hard on themselves internally and they are just better at not vocalizing it.  Whether we vocalize it or internalize it, we all fall victim to putting ourselves down far too often.

Back when I was a single mom trying to juggle being the CEO of my company while raising two little kids on my own was probably the time I peaked at being my own worst critic.  My problem was that I would compare myself to all the other stay at home moms who had impeccably clean houses and beautifully set tables with an actual home cooked meal for their family…oh, and I can’t forget their perfect fresh flower centerpieces and their home baked bread they made from scratch….ARGHHH…I could never compete with that. So I would walk around beating myself up that I was a horrible mom who didn’t bake her own bread and who served microwave mac and cheese to her kids for dinner with no centerpiece to speak of.

Forget the fact that I was working more than full-time growing a healthcare technology company who had to take care of two kids and manage a household on my own…that didn’t get to count for anything in my mind because all I could see was that I was a horrible person for not baking my own bread…

We all do that to ourselves in one way or another. We focus on what we DON’T do well rather than focusing on everything we DO do well and we blow the things we don’t do well WAY out of proportion. Why do we do it?? Heck if I know! But we do. And we have to stop. Seriously…we have to STOP!

What finally squashed the voice of that inner critic judging me all the time about how horrible I was, was this:

One night after a particularly brutal day I had come home and fallen apart crying alone in my room so my kids wouldn’t see me upset. I don’t know exactly why but instead of the mean voice I typically heard in my head I heard a nice voice saying “You will still get to go to heaven even if you buy your bread”.  And I started to laugh. Then I was laughing and crying at the same time because I realized that was true. God will still let me go to heaven even if my house is a mess once in a while, and even if I feed my kids microwave mac and cheese sometimes, and even if I can’t fit into my skinny jeans anymore, and even if I have wrinkles, and even if I don’t have a fresh flowered centerpiece, and even if I serve dinner on a paper plate, and even if my kids outfits don’t match and their hair is a mess, and even if I fail at different business ventures, and even if I don’t have a particular job title or a dime of money in my bank account, and God would definitely let me into heaven even if I buy my bread from a store!

So if God wasn’t going to hold those things against me then why the heck should I spend my time fretting over them??? If God doesn’t judge us for those things then why should we judge ourselves for them?!? I finally realized that I needed to stop stressing over the things that weren’t going to keep me out of heaven and just focus my attention on doing the things that would get me in. Like trying to be a good person, trying to develop my talents, and trying to be loving and kind. At the end of the day all God wants is for us to try our best to keep progressing a little bit more each day. He expects improvement, not perfection. And He is just fine with store bought bread 🙂

Two great quotes to leave you with today:

“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” 

and

“There’s no need to be perfect to inspire others. Let others get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.”  – Dr. Laura

Love to all

~Amy

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