I have the joy of teaching counseling students this semester who are seeing clients for the first time. They are required to submit videotapes so that I can see how they are doing. They routinely, without fail, always point out how terrible they are as therapists and that they are they only one in the class who is so bad. I have taught this class several times before. This is the response from every student. What is an interesting phenomenon is that when I watch the tapes I am invariably pleased with their progress and how they are doing.
These students are not unique in judging themselves so harshly. We all tend to see ourse lves much more critically then the rest of the world does. You have probably experienced having someone tell you how good you look on the days that you think horrible. I have seen models that are breath-takingly beautiful get so frustrated while looking at themselves in the mirror because of all the flaws that they see.
Why do we need to see ourselves so severely? What would happen if we were able to judge ourselves more gently? Are we fearful that we would stop striving to succeed? Are we afraid that others would see us as worse than we judge ourselves, therefore we would be seen as braggarts or foolish? Or are we just all a bit insecure?
Maybe it is a bit of everything. Be aware that you are not looking at yourself objectively. You do not see yourself clearly. Ask some people that you trust how they see you. Allow yourself some slack on how you judge yourself. Set some reasonable goals for yourself and congratulate yourself when you reach them. Give yourself permission to be “good-enough” rather than “the best”.
So to you and my students: you really are doing okay! Relax, breathe. And enjoy the journey!