The question is, do I get mad at myself?
And the answer would be plain and simple. I do, even if I don’t want to.
I do for several reasons. I get mad at myself more than I do when my students give me stupid answers during discussions or when the mailman fails to bring in the bills on time.
Just like any human being who well knows he’s fallible but still endeavors to conquer his flaws and attain perfection in anything he is immensely passionate about, I want to overcome whatever blemishes I have. And when I get defeated by my own weaknesses, I whip myself unceasingly and lock it up in a figurative urn of mortification until I get the courage again to face and fight my own flaws.
That’s how I teach myself not to settle for less. I get mad at myself at times just to persuade it that if it wants to succeed, it needs to work harder, it needs to do better than what it did and exert more than what it exerted the last time.
When I forget to discuss one important concept with my students in their Mass Media Law and Ethics class, when I can’t find the right English term for an idea I want to express, when I can’t talk as fluently or as profoundly as others do, or when someone I care about fails to notice me or worse, leaves me for another person, I get mad at myself and blame it endlessly.
While others say, it’s ok for bad things to happen, they’re inevitable, I refuse to listen. I would tell myself, bad things happen but they could have been prevented only if I had known and done better.
I curse myself for not being able to read more books when I was still in grade school when it dawns on me that my students know something that I have not encountered yet; I blame my face and my complexion when a person I adore fails to notice me. And others do not know this, but I tell myself there’s nothing special about me that’s why no one on this earth would ever notice me.
The next question is, does it help?
And the answer now is no longer that plain and simple. It does help, but it oftentimes hurts especially when people around you tell you you’re great or pretty awesome at something, and you refuse to let yourself be convinced by such compliments.
Because sometimes I go overboard that I can already hardly see the excellence of my works, the greatness of my efforts, the worth of my skills, the pleasantness of my being. I forget that I am not really perfect and that I just have to do what I am capable of.
So the next question now is, should we whip ourselves when we lose in a battle we engaged ourselves into or when we fail to easily reach the pedestal we want ourselves to be?
My answer would be this: There’s a big difference between reasonably getting mad at ourselves for some shortcomings and deliberately disparaging or even abandoning ourselves just because we are imperfect.
For the truth is, no amount of victory or success or excellence or praise from other people would surmount the trust and love we can give to ourselves. At the end of the day, when all the glitters and yells and clapping of the hands are done and gone, the only person that will give you a pat on the back, who will still welcome you back with open arms though you’re wounded and broken, the only loyal partner you will have…