Many days I feel disappointed in myself. I’m disappointed I didn’t wake up early. I’m disappointed I missed the morning yoga class. I’m disappointed I didn’t work hard enough. I’m disappointed I’m easily distracted. I’m disappointed I didn’t do the laundry or make the bed or organize that thing I was going to organize but haven’t. In months. I’m disappointed I wasn’t brave.

I feel this disappointment in the pit of my stomach. Churning. It’s a guilt that turns into regret that stays there all day. Almost like a mass. Eventually, it shrinks.

But before the shrinking, I think of ways to discipline myself, as though I’m grounding my inner child for misbehaving.


Margarita TartakovskyMargarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.

Editor:  Saad Shaheed


You’ll have to work tonight after dinner. You’ll need to clean and organize this weekend. Remember, you did this to yourself. You’ll have to take the evening class. No exceptions! You’ll have to wake up much earlier tomorrow to get everything done. Again, you did this to yourself, because you were distracted and lazy.

Years ago, I used to do this with food. So you ate that brownie? Well, then you can’t eat dessert for days. Maybe weeks!

Maybe you, too, feel disappointed in yourself some days. Maybe your disappointments resemble my current or past ones. Maybe you feel disappointed about something entirely different.

But you feel it, nonetheless. You think about it. Over and over, nonetheless.

It’s hard not to get mad at ourselves. Not to hold ourselves to certain standards and expectations, especially when we feel the letting down etched into our skin.

But this is where self-compassion comes in, as it does over and over, to teach us the lessons we need to learn.

Being kind to yourself when you’re disappointed in yourself is not easy. In fact, it might not even occur to you. At all.

Or, maybe it does, but you shut it down immediately. Not now! you screech like you’re talking to a child who keeps wanting something this very second, and you’re too swamped to provide it.

But, as I say all the time (and try to remind myself all the time) self-compassion can be small. It can be a pause. A breath.

You woke up sooo late! What’s wrong with you?!

Pause. Deep breath.

I’m upset with myself right now. I recognize that.

Pause. Deep breath.

This kind of negativity doesn’t get me anywhere, except into a deeper darker hole.

Pause. Deep breath.

What can I do now? How can I help myself? What would I tell my best friend to do? What might be a gentler approach I can consider?

Pause. Deep breath.

I’ll focus on moving forward. Just one step, recognizing and respecting my disappointed reaction, but also realizing that I’m human, and there’s always learning to be done.

Because there is. And that’s a good thing. A very good thing.

It’s hard to redirect ourselves when we’re ocean deep in disappointment. That’s why pausing and breathing help. They create an interruption in the loop, giving us a chance to realize something important: We can’t do it all. We aren’t robots. We’ll get tired. We’ll forget. We’ll make mistakes.

It’s where we go from there that matters. And that path can be paved with the things that serve us. One pause. One breath. At a time.

Courtesy: PsychCentral

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