Just One Step at a Time

5 01 2007

There are two kinds of people in the world who I have an extremely hard time being lenient with.  The first, are bullies who have either hurt someone I care about, or pick on the small and helpless for the benefit of their own misguided egos, and secondly, myself.  No, I don’t have issues with self-loathing — my ego is just fine, thank you very much — but I expect and demand things of myself that I would never dream of asking of anyone else.  

If by chance, you’ve ever spent an afternoon playing with preschoolers with your fingernails caked in Playdough you’ve probably discovered something about the importance of being understanding. 

The kids try to eat the blue Playdough, simply because it’s their favorite color (isn’t that a good enough reason to ingest something?), they jumble the colors until the rainbow resembles an oily, mud puddle.  Playdough ends up in their pockets, hair, ears, nostrils and anywhere else it can be crammed into.  It ends up sticking to the carpet, and then, it dries as hard as concrete, so you don’t have the slightest hope the room, the children, or your clothes will ever be completely Playdough-free again.     

Did the children fail because they had fun and ended up made a mess in the process?  No, of course not.  They’re preschoolers, and that’s how preschoolers act.  You clean up the mess, scrub the tables, and take a chisel to the carpet, without ever thinking any of them have failed.   

Why don’t I extend the same level of understanding to myself?    

There’s something about the changing of the calendars – taking down the well used Dr. Seuss, with a years worth of piano and soccer schedules permanently engraved on it, and hanging a stiff and shiny Van Gogh in its place — that has a way of giving this crabby, drill sergeant of an inner voice a megaphone.    

As is customary, most of us spend time examining ourselves under a cruel microscope until we’ve found the hideous thing we’d like removed.  We make our New Years wish (but entitle it a “resolution” because it sounds more realistic that way) and wait for the New Years Genie to rub his golden palms together and instantly remove the unseemly thing, along with making us into the loving, patient, good-looking, intelligent individual we’ve always known was locked away down, deep inside, just dying to get out.       

When the New Years Genie doesn’t come through — he rarely does – the only “realistic” conclusion we can muster is that we have failed, yet again, and that obnoxious voice puffs out her chest and says “I told you so!” in a taunting voice.  I swear, she’s just asking for a knuckle sandwich.  

Too often, when I decide to make “seize the day” my life motto – which generally happens around the first of the year — my inner voice starts arranging long, detailed lists of things I should be accomplishing, and others that I should’ve already done.  Rather than feeling excited to embrace every moment of life as a gift meant to be treasured – to stop and smell the roses – it’s easy, at least for me, to feel chained to this new “mindset” of making every minute count, while getting tangled up in the overwhelming battle with Self.               

Without any prompting, my inner voice barks orders, pulls out the guilt card (“You never do it right”) and points out all of my flaws and shortcomings in a voice dripping with as much sarcasm and pointed remarks as a late night talk show host, and I’m tired of listening.    

My New Year’s Resolution for 2007 (although, I’d like to imagine it’s more than merely a wish) is to be nice to myself, which means not saying I’m failing because I can’t handle the same level of stress I could before life kicked up to purée.  It means reading what I want to, blogging if I feel like it, going for long walks, drinking tea every morning for no deeper reason other than I want to, and truly taking sometime to breathe, heal and when I need to, grieve.   

Of course, I’d love to be able to handle what I could before, but I can’t yet, and that’s okay.  I’ll get there, but only if I allow myself time to heal now.   

It’s a journey, and in the words of Confucius, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” and the entire journey – no matter how long or short it may be – is comprised of individual steps; choosing to pick on up one foot at a time, and put it down in the right direction, and eventually, you begin shuffling across the living room floor, out the front door and into the open air.  It doesn’t require a genie, just one step at a time.    




8 responses

6 01 2007


Hey you!

Here’s a tip: You’re human! And while I know you’ve got a strong faith already, remember that God is here to help you bear your burden, so you don’t have to feel like you have to handle everything yourself. God won’t give you more than you can handle, so don’t make more for yoruself than He gives!

Your friend,
Erin :o)

Yes, I know I’m “only human,” which is the reason I’m to try and be nice to myself.


6 01 2007
Maria Toth

Thank you for those reflections from your heart
Every blessing be yours
Maria in the UK

Thank you, Maria.


7 01 2007

I can be my own worst critic as well. With age I have mellowed a bit (some call it maturity 🙂 ) You’re on the right path, you’ll have our prayers.
Since Christmas just passed, fresh on my mind was the song from the little cartoon, “Sants Claus is coming to town,” “One foot in front of the other”. So I hope that helps you smile when you are being too hard on yourself!
His blessings to you this day!

It seems like a lot of people can be their own worst critic. I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times, when it comes to myself and things I’m doing, which is probably where the “inner critic” mostly comes from.

I was actually thinking of that song when I wrote this. It does makes me smile. 🙂


7 01 2007

Kelsey, I really like Erin’s comment, you are only human, give yourself a break. I like you have much higher expectations of myself than I do of others. I was like that most of my life, with my inner self being so critical of almost everything I did. somewhere along the line I learned that a lot of people if not most people are like that, having more patience for others than they do for themselves. I am not sure why that is, possibly one of the lessons in life God wants us to learn? I don’t know.
It took me 4 heart attacks and to know I am dying to come to a realization. Our past, our memories are nothing but thoughts, our expectations of ourselves are nothing but thoughts. We can change our thinking. Our actions today create our thoughts and memories of tomorrow.
You are a special internet friend, I have followed your posting for about 3 months and I know of your internal strength, if there ever was a person that can do this it is you.
You are always in my heart, thoughts and prayers.

I wonder why people seem to be so much harder on themselves than on others. Maybe you’re right that it’s one of those life lessons we’re to learn, that we truly are only human. It’s amazing how much our own thoughts can affect the way we live and our view of whether we’re succeeding, or failing.

Thank you, Bill, for believing in me. 🙂


7 01 2007

The journey may seem like a thousand miles long, but with each step it gets shorter and shorter. The steps get bigger and bigger. It is really that long at all.
Good walking my friend

It does start getting easier the more steps you take, and the more you began to realize what you truly can expect of yourself. It seems like “being nice to yourself” would be something easy, but it doesn’t seem to be.


18 01 2007

To everything there is a season. . .
Society has made us all form opinions of ourselves that are not only unjust but unrealistic. We are bombarded on a daily basis by a media machine that screams “You’re not good enough!”
I’m trying hard to learn about perspective be it inside or out.
Write, pray and drink multiple cups of tea and thank that higher power for the opportunity to see another sunrise, hear a child laugh, read another book.
I have the feeling that like my oldest daughter you just can’t seem to give yourself credit for the smallest thing. Stop listening to that internal critic that only screams about negativity. You can turn her off or at the very least lower the volume.
I just know it.
Shine on, Kelsey,

Thank you, Michael.

I don’t give myself credit for the smallest things, you’re right. Perspective is a hard thing to learn, but I’m learning how to lower the volume. I’ve started by striking “failure” from my working vocabulary, and I’m trying to give myself some time to breathe and enjoy the beauty around me. It seems to be working, which is a very good thing.


18 01 2007

great point. just one step at a time, but why it it so dang hard!@#!

Yes, it sure is hard. 😛


27 01 2007

You are the mistress of your own fate. Take your steps when and as you see fit. It is no one else’s call but your own. You have the wisdom you need to see yourself through whatever life is giving you. Rejoice in that. And of course, all your blog buddies are but an email away, any time.

“Mistress of my own fate,” I like that way of putting it. Thank you, WC.


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