Why I shouldn’t be annoyed with myself

I’m getting frustrated with myself at the moment. My body hasn’t quite recovered from my operation in December, and because I no longer have any pain or any symptoms that keep me occupied trying to manage them, I feel like I should be further ahead than I am.

Last time I saw a GP, she pointed out that I’d had major surgery and shouldn’t beat myself up for taking time to get fully better. I listened at the time because I was struggling with movement, but seem to have forgotten that message in my every day life. Now that I can drive into town or to a meeting or a pub, I feel like I’ve got a semblance of normality back, when in truth “normal” is going to take many more weeks to achieve.

If I were talking to a friend who’d had a similar experience, I’d be gently telling them to take it easy, to not worry that they can’t do all the things they want to, and to focus on doing the things they are able to do. I’d be reassuring them that if the consultant said to go back in 3 months, that means things aren’t expected to be OK yet. I’d be reminding them of how far they’d come since the operation and how they are improving every single week.

So if I would say all those things carefully to a friend, why do I not apply that same standard to myself? Why do I constantly berate myself for not being back at the gym or going for long walks every day?

I think some of it is probably the comparison trap. Comparing my progress to those oh-so-general patient leaflets that say “6 to 8 weeks” to “normal” activity. Occasionally googling things and finding more “evidence” to support the fact that I’m not like everyone else who’s had the same surgery.

And I do this in other areas of my life too. Comparing my life situation to my university friends, my work situation to other people my age, my lack of cooking or vegetable growing ability to my Facebook friends, and sometimes I even get annoyed by things other people tweet because they sound more intellectual than I do. Yes, really.

I think Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, would also point out to me that I’m also not being present in my current situation. I’m thinking about the future, about a time when I feel better and can do all the things I want to do, rather than just being in my current situation and accepting it. Not appreciating what I have now. Time to read, blog and think. Some freelance work I can easily do from home. The fact that the weather is getting better, so my daily walks are in sunshine and surrounded by flowers.

So, I’m going to take a step back once again and remind myself that I’m unique. I’ll get better in the time I need to take. And things will happen when they’re meant to happen. It will take time. But I’ll do what I need to do along the way. And accept it as being what is right now.

Crow watching Grand Canyon

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