Letting Ourselves Down: A Matter of Perspective?
We can sometimes feel that we are letting ourselves down. We have ideals about the sorts of people we would like to be, and the way we want to live our lives but sometimes we aren't able to live up to those ideals and we disappoint ourselves. How can we deal with this?
Do we need to get better….
The conventional approach to this question would suggest that we need to become better at doing what we say we will do, and then our actions will match our ideals.
…or do we need to readjust our goals?
However, this can sometimes be difficult to do; our circumstances may not allow us to be the people we wish to be, and in this circumstance there still remains a gap between our ideals and our actions. Further, this may indicate that our ideals are actually pitched at a level that is unachievable. This can happen due to perfectionism, and when we set goals like this we can never achieve them and will always feel disappointed with ourselves. We may choose to keep our ideals at a high level in order to motivate us and inspire us, but we need to recognise and accept that we will almost inevitably end up falling short of them. If we choose to do this we need to become reconciled to the difference between our ideals and our ability to satisfy them.
Cut yourself some slack when changing
Another way of looking at this is to recognise that when our ideals change it is probably a sign that we are growing and developing. We consciously or unconsciously believe that we are capable of more, and that we feel we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. In other cases, we can choose to lower our ideals when we realise that these ideals of perfection really don't serve us, and to maintain them only makes us miserable. we may not be letting ourselves down at all.
Goals are often an integral part of psychotherapy and choosing how to relate to these goals is an integral part of the work of change and growth.
– Tim Hill
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