Ever notice that we tend to be our hardest critics — especially when critique is the last thing we need? That tends to be the case with me and, these days of late, it’s intensified tenfold.
Interestingly enough, my harsh critique has come out while doing a few of things that have brought me the most joy. Sure, I have the usual look-in-the-mirror and think “bleach,” but that occasional occurrence is somewhat normal. I do okay with that. I know it will pass. It’s the other stuff — the stuff that brings forth joy and enthusiasm — that this disparagement has a way of crippling me.
Take tonight’s yoga class for example. Poses which I can generally perform with much effort but still somewhat successfully were not happening. The voice in my head started off with a simple questioning. “What’s wrong with you today?” I muddled on, trying to ignore the voice which demanded an answer time and time again — in response to my more frequent than usual shortcomings. I tried to override it with encouragement and forgiveness. But once in savasana the answer came.
The not-good-enough criticism has nothing to do with yoga, guitar, or cycling. It has to do with raising children to become responsible, caring, happy adults who make the best choice for the given situation. With one still at home, and the other returning home for a visit, all the emotional victimization comes rushing back. Memories (which I’ve tried to keep buried) come rushing back. Fear that I inadequately supported my son’s healing following his father’s death (despite all my efforts) stares me in the face.
Through my quiet sobbing, I start to pray. I pray that my boy has become the man I raised rather than a boy fighting the inevitable pressures of growing up. I pray that we will have a good visit, and that I won’t feel walked on by the time it’s over. I pray that everyone will be better for it and that, by the time we are parting once more, that I will finally know that I have done a good job in raising him. That I will leave behind this not-good-enough feeling once and for all.