Attitude Adjustment Through Metaphorical Altitude Adjustment

Attitude adjustment has proven to be a difficult process for me.  I can fall into patterns of self-abuse so easily, it is rote for me.  Once again, I curse the lack of variety in the tools I can use to accomplish this goal.  I am committed to the process, though, so there is no turning back.

Once I started this process I started thinking back on all the ‘tools’ I use for interpersonal communication and conflict resolution.  Conflict resolution came to mind because what is happening is I am essentially in conflict with myself.  I’m the boss of myself and I’m disappointed in my employee’s behavior and I’m getting a bit belligerent about it.

When I’m actually in conflict with someone else or am advising someone regarding a conflict they are having, I use the phrase ‘Rise above it.’    In my point of view, we get two options regarding conflict, we can get down in the mud and fight it out or we can rise above it and move on.  Yet, whenever I get in conflict with myself, I can’t help but fall right in the mud and wrestle with myself.

How do I rise above a conflict I am having with myself?

I have high expectations for myself and when I fall short I literally get angry at myself.  I beat myself up for days.  It is unproductive and damaging to my sense of self-esteem.  I know this, yet… I do it.

Rise above.  When I have these moments of self-hatred, I need to give myself the same slack I would give anyone. By holding myself to a standard I wouldn’t hold anyone else to, I am only setting myself up for failure, for my self-hatred. There is a lot there that needs to be analyzed.  Why would I set myself up for failure? Why would I hold myself to a higher standard than anyone else?  Beyond that, I need to rise above these moments, and move on.  That is the truly healthy way to handle this.

Today’s Affirmation:
I’m not held to a higher expectation than anyone else in my life.


3 thoughts on “Attitude Adjustment Through Metaphorical Altitude Adjustment

  1. This is probably my biggest struggle, when it comes to self-improvement. On the one hand, I firmly believe in settting high expectations, and that it drives positive change – not just for myself, but in life in general. On the other hand, if you set high expectations and fail, it can lead to a self-defeating cycle. So, where’s the balancing point, and how do you build that balance into your approaches?

    Couple of things that seem to work, to a degree:

    (1) Trial-run your goals, so to speak, to set reasonable expectations. Don’t say “I’m going to do a triathlon!” If you’ve never run more than 500 feet. Take a month, try it out, and benchmark yourself.

    (2) Build in cheats. I was skeptical of cheat-days (especially in diet plans) at first, but I’m really beginning to see the merit. It recognizes that we’re all imperfect, and prevents the worst losses of impulse control (holding out for a week is a lot better than holding out for months or forever). In many cases, I’ve also heard people report that they reached a point where the cheat day made them feel like crap, and they finally decided to drop it – at that point it served as a signal that real, lasting change had happened. I’m trying to incorporate this idea into other goals.

    (3) Measure your goals over time, instead of all-or-none. For example, I’m trying to move back up to 5 fruits and veggies per day. Inevitably, some days, especially weekend days, are a disaster (especially for now, while I’m building habits). So instead of tracking each day and counting one missed day as failure, I average over the week. That way, if I fall short one day, I can make it up in the same week. Not perfect, but definitely better than giving up and killing myself over a bad day.

    (4) Try not to beat yourself up – probably the hardest part. If you miss a day, and then quit, what’s the point? Like you said, try to be objective and treat yourself like you’d counsel someone else. Look at why you failed – was it just circumstantial or are you at your breaking point. Adjust, if needed, but don’t overreact to just one day.

    (5) Count in progress, not in failure. I’m not clear how to systematize this, but I try to track goals reached, and even partial goals. If you set out to achieve 10 goals, but then only make 5, it’s easy to take a glass-half-empty approach and feel like a failure. On the other hand, you’re 5 goals ahead of where you were, and that matters. So, count the 5 and don’t get hung up on the other 5.

    Anyway, these are all concepts-in-progress for me. Just thinking out loud.

    • These are valid and good points. All my time doing NaNoWriMo and other ‘systems’ has proven to me… I don’t do systems. Rules, guidelines, all of that need to grow from me through natural experience. I’m trying to eliminate the concept of failure from my life. You can’t be a loser until the game is over and as far as I can tell… I’m still playing.

      • I think a “system” can be as simple as a couple of rules. There are a lot of systems/rules that end up not working for any given person, but you can always try them on for size. Your own experience will sort out what makes sense for you and then you can adapt. If you try to re-invent the wheel too much, I’ve found you can get stuck looking for something completely original.

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