Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

By Ashley Gomez

As adults, we typically have the experiences in life that our younger selves would benefit from if we could give them advice, in retrospect. There’s probably a lot you could tell your younger self. If I were able to give advice to my younger self, it would be to not be too hard on yourself. From the time we are children, to us becoming adults, and for a majority of our lives, we constantly second-guess ourselves. We second-guess our motivations, our words, actions, and sometimes even our own self worth. We worry about whether we said the right thing when our friends needed advice, and we worry if we are living up to the expectations that have been set before us by those around us. This in particular is where I would have appreciated the simple words, don’t be too hard on yourself. I was always second-guessing the things I did, whether they were my words or my actions. I was finding that I was so worried about the outcomes of what I did, it would begin to affect how I would approach and do something. This would lead to me exhausting all my outcomes and eventually myself as well. As a senior in high school, I was a student who everyone very easily saw going to college and getting a degree, which seems like great encouragement at first.

But, then the process of applying and finding potential schools began to scare me. I suddenly became overcome with fear that I wouldn’t get in anywhere. I was afraid that my papers were insufficient, that my grades were insufficient, and so on. This led to an incredibly extensive and rigorous application process that I had bestowed upon myself. By the end of the application deadlines, I had applied to a total of 7 universities of my choosing. And then the unthinkable happened – I got into every single school. With all these options now available of me to continue my education, I found myself not knowing what to do. I was too worried about my shortcomings to realize that my other qualities had allowed myself to show and shine through within my applications. In retrospect I was too hard on myself during this process and a handful of other times within my academic career.

Another place I found myself exhausting all possible options was when I began looking for jobs. Since my sophomore year of college, I have worked a handful of odd jobs, and when I found myself without a job, I suddenly felt as if I was not doing everything I should do. While looking for a job during this season in which I did not have one, I would apply to as many as a dozen a day to try and find something. Most times I never heard back from the companies for which I applied. Other times, months would go by before I heard a response from a company I had nearly almost forgotten. I soon came to the conclusion that perhaps it was not right for me to just work another odd job. Instead, I found myself waiting for the right time when I felt ready to find something that suited me and my current lifestyle.

I realized then that there was no reason to force something that would not benefit me in the end. It is still sometimes very difficult for me, but I know that at times I need to take my own advice and not be too hard on myself. With this, though, comes a certain level of understanding and patience. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” God cares for you and when He places a time of rest upon you, don’t be too hard on yourself.”