Self-loathing is so easy. Everyone has setbacks or makes mistakes, and many go through a period of being very hard on themselves afterward. After a mistake, you may be focused on the consequences or the sequence of events that led up to the mistake, but many people make beating themselves up a higher priority. Of all the options that you might consider after a mistake, beating yourself up is the least helpful. It’s important to be aware of when you’re doing this and replace it with other reactions. The first among these must be learning from the mistake, with forgiving yourself a close second. If you’re able to incorporate these reactions to mistakes into your life, there will be no room for self-loathing.
Some people, as they move through life, begin to feel out of touch. It may start with the interests of younger people—music, apps, gadgets, etc.—and extends to a general feeling of being left behind. But it’s all a matter of perspective.
As you get further down your path, you should feel more and more confident, and increasingly trust your judgement based on your experiences. It’s not necessary to like, or even be aware of, every new trend. You should remain open to new ideas or experiences, but should not worry about those that don’t interest you—don’t think that you’ve become irrelevant just because you’re not engaged in the latest rage. Develop a balance between what’s known and comfortable and what’s new and different. And trust yourself to know what you like.
So many of us engage in activities to get a reaction, or to make money, or to feel loved. But what are the things you do because you love doing them? What do you do just for yourself—because it gives you pleasure or is meaningful?
Our motivations for what we do with our lives are worth exploring. They can provide a filter through which we can evaluate how we spend our time and may lead us toward a more rewarding set of activities. For example, we all have to make a living—that is a key motivator for most people—but would you pursue your career if money were not a factor? If not, how else would you spend your days?
What you do with your time outside your job should be as important and intentional as your work. Are you just filling the hours, or are you getting something back? What activities would you engage in even if you didn’t get any external, positive benefit? What activities do you do just for you?
Each of us has a vision—the ideal version of our lives.
But what you may not realize is that your overall vision is made up of your day-to-day and moment-to-moment visions. If you can make those mini-visions become real, your overall vision will take care of itself.
In this context, I’m not talking about a major life goal to accomplish or milestones to achieve. I’m talking about what you want your life to be—the ideal version of how you live, how you feel, and what you think. While this does, of course, relate to your accomplishments, it is more about your approach and outlook than about the particulars. How you engage with and interpret all of the people, circumstances, and events along your path will define both your reality and your vision. As much as it feels like many of those elements are out of your control, they’re not. It can be difficult to not let them drive your outlook, but through intentional living, it is possible.
What’s your approach to holiday gift-giving? Many have people they want to (or have to) buy gifts for, and they make a list and go online to find something to buy. Holiday shopping is, for many, a burden—something they just want to get over with. This attitude plays right into the hands of marketers, who post celebrity shopping ideas, gift ideas for specific categories, and sale days, like Black Friday. There are also gift cards, or as Jerry Seinfeld called them, “I don’t give a crap” cards, for when you want to make as little effort as possible. People put the buying first—they walk around a mall or peruse gift sections on websites. They don’t try to get to know the person better or consider what will make them happy—they just check the box on their shopping list. But there is another way—a way that makes enhancing our connections with people the first step, a way to add meaning to what should be an especially meaningful time of year.