Choosing to try again tomorrow

Today was one of those days that has left me really frustrated with myself. I like to think of myself as a nice person, but sometimes I have days that force me realize that I’m really not the person I want to believe myself to be.

I tend to be too judgmental, too controlling, too critical. I am often unkind, stingy, and impatient. I talk much more than I should, and I so often say things that I later regret (sometimes no sooner than the words are out of my mouth).

I make commitments time and again to listen better, to talk less, to be kinder and more generous and more tolerant. But if there is any change, it so often seems to be at a glacial pace.

The ironic thing is that I am so often tempted into this kind of behavior that I regret out of a desire for approval.

I make fun of someone in order to make someone else laugh and potentially like me more for being funny. I talk because I think I might impress someone with what I have to say. I am unkind because I’m more focused on doing some other task that seems more likely to gain approval from someone important. I manipulate because I think that people won’t like me if I am direct about what I want or need. I tell my story (or give my opinion or share my thoughts) because I want to be seen and acknowledged after years of feeling invisible.

You’d think I’d learn that these strategies backfire on me every time, but I seem to forget that when I’m caught in the moment. Sometimes it feels like “Groundhog Day” as I keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again in only slightly varying ways.

There are times when I just want to give up on my efforts to be a better person when the improvements seem so long in coming, but I know that the cowardly way out. There’s a reason why kindness is one of my words for this year!

“Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher

So I am choosing to keep at it, and I will try again tomorrow.

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

8 thoughts on “Choosing to try again tomorrow

  1. The challenge to be patient and humble is a hard one. I find sometimes it helps to make a big declaration, such as this will be my year of no complaining or no cynicism or no boosting myself up at another’s expense. It also helps me to think of these things the way I think of blame – snacking on sugar for a quick rush instead of eating something healthy and nutritious.

    • Thank you, Thomas! I like the idea of picking one thing and making a big declaration that I am going to focus on it. There’s a huge value in that kind of accountability! I also just love your analogy with snacking on sugar for a quick rush. That’s exactly what I’m doing on an emotional level, isn’t it? I’m going to hang onto that image because I think it just may help me slow down and choose better in the future. Thanks so much for sharing that!

  2. Oh my gosh, I can really relate to this! I agree with Thomas about narrowing the focus a bit I did resolutions for the first time last year, including once to be nicer. Not only is “nicer” really vague, but I think I was trying to be too many new things all at once.

    The truth is that it does take so very long to change ingrained habits. And “in the moment” I would fall back on the behaviors that come naturally to me without thought. It’s like muscle memory, but it’s behavior memory. Then I would beat myself up about it.

    I’m trying this year to take everything in smaller chunks. Just pick one thing to work on: I won’t make jokes at another’s expense. Don’t worry about anything but that. Once you’ve got that behavior changed, move on to the next. But I think once you get a couple under your belt, it will all start to snowball.

    Each new day is a new start – cut yourself some slack. If you were a bad person, this wouldn’t bother you at all. Bad people don’t generally think they’re bad.

    • Thanks for this! I have at least grown to the point where I don’t automatically think I’m a bad person (and I would have not that long ago!), but I am disappointed with myself.

      My big focus over the last six months or so has been on trying to keep my mouth shut more often. Not only will saying less keep me from saying things that wind up being unhelpful, it will help me learn to take that pause I need to really decide whether the thing I’m about to say is kind, helpful, necessary, and true before I open my mouth in the future. I am doing better than I used to, but I still have such a LONG way to go.

      Thank goodness for a fresh start every morning!

      • I’m glad you don’t think you’re a bad person! But I understand the disappointment part, for sure. That can set you back really quick, because you almost feel like, “what’s the point to keep trying?” This is a long, long road, and I’ll never get there. But I’m really glad you keep going – I’ll think of you next time I want to just quit trying, and it will help me to keep going too 🙂

      • Thank you! You’ve made my day! I’m glad to think that I’m inspiring you by choosing to keep trying. That helps inspire me to keep choosing that over and over again too. Thank you!!

  3. This post really hit home with me as well. One thing that helped me was to focus on one thing at a time as suggested. What helped me the most was when I stopped focusing on perfection and starting thinking about peace. When my thoughts turned in that direction my life followed and its not perfect but there is peace.

Comments are closed.