People often criticize themselves for challenges that actually demonstrate they are good and decent people. The feeling that they are failing is often just them feeling powerless thanks to repeatedly running into either: some painful aspect of nature; or some ugly or cold aspect of our current society.
People also often criticize themselves for their performance in all kinds of ways, and yet some days our body is working well, and others it is struggling. It only makes sense that we would have both good and bad days, physically. After all, we travel in biological human-suits that are actually quite busy at the cellular level, even if they appear fairly static on the outside.
People also often criticize themselves for things beyond their control, or for the effects generated by subconscious influences. These influences can include physical things like known or unknown diseases or tumours that would impact brain operation, or other influences like like sleep apnea, viruses, parasites etc.
On the more subconscious side, circadian rhythms are an example that comes to mind thanks to a radio interview I recent heard with an expert. He was on the radio because the place I live is contemplating ending the use of Daylight Savings Time. Due to us being so far North, this is a fairly serious discussion with significant consequences.
Thanks to that discussion, I learned something that was logical once I heard it, but I had never considered this idea before:
Studies show that, when travelling, the changes in sunset and sunrise at a new location are a big part of how our circadian rhythms are able to quickly realign. But, in the case of a Daylight Savings change, the time zone does not change. Since our body sees the sun going up and down at the same every day, it sees no reason to adjust our circadian rhythms.
Without the shock of a time zone change, it turns out that it takes a month or more for us to adjust to the new time. Look at that: sometimes, even jet lag is beneficial. (“Nothing is good or bad. Only thinking makes it so.”)
Despite this all making perfect scientific sense, who among us will give themselves some room to have some insomnia, or to screw up, or feel a little more down, or discombobulated, in the 30 or 40 days following a time change?
Most of us would attack ourselves immediately for the degraded performance, without ever even wondering if we were hungry, sick or tired. But we cannot live a healthy life if we’re constantly expecting ourselves to have perpetually consistent ‘good days.’
Perfection as an expectation is unattainable, which makes the pursuit of it stressful. Excellence, or ideals, are more like directions than targets. And, as such, they include less expectation and more anticipation. Using that approach allows us to experience outside influences in negative ways, without translating our performance drops as reasons to undermine our own confidence with insecure thinking.
We are best to avoid limiting ourselves, while still respecting the limits of the universe at any given time. By keeping this balance, we can live with internal peace, despite having the growth-inducing external struggles that are an inevitable and rewarding aspect of our journey through life.
If you would like to book time with Scott to learn more about living with a greater degree of acceptance and flow, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can make arrangements for me to answer your questions.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.