In grade one I had two Valentine’s for Bonnie. One Bonnie was a classmate, the other a friend of the family who worked at the school.
I accidentally gave both cards to the Bonnie in my class. I realized my mistake and tried, tears of embarrassment pricking my eyes, to take back one of the cards.
My teacher insisted it was rude to take the card back and when I cried harder she took me to the cloakroom to calm down and think about my actions. I’m not sure if she knew I was crying because I might have hurt Bonnie’s feelings. I think she thought I was upset for not getting the Valentine’s card back.
She came to get me after about 10 minutes and I apologized profusely to Bonnie then sat down with the class to enjoy ice cream and cake, the later of which I had a mild allergic reaction to. I hid the reaction because I figured it was just deserts (oh yes she did😂).
I was in grade one roughly 30 years ago and I still pick up this Memory from time and again and give myself a sound mental beating for how I behaved vs how I think I should have behaved.
Believe me, if we have ever communicated I garuntee I’ve spent time considering how I could have communicated better with you and disected each moment trying to tease out what I did wrong. I generally assume I did something wrong.
This tendency to ruminate does me no good at all. In fact it is a colossal time suck. So why do it?
I hear folks like informative diagrams. In light of this I have provided the following diagram demonstrating how rumination tends to feel.
Please note: The flowers depicted on the diagram are purely decorative. Ruminating actually sucks but I find sucking hard to draw.
Here’s a theory – beating myself up over minute transgressions allows me to feed the perfectionist beast inside. I want so badly to not be socially awkward, to always say the right thing. I imagine others have this whole social perfection thing down perfectly and nary a faux pas is ever made.
In my life now I call upon mistakes both old and new to beat myself up for and ruminate upon. It’s sort of like coming home to old friends. Old friends who want to suck the marrow from my self esteem, but old friends nonetheless.
So what is to be done about this unhealthy habit? Probably more of that positive self-talk along with a sprinkling of self-love. If I could just figure out how to staple both those items into my psychee I’d be cooking with Gas.
I guess it’s all fodder for my next appointment with my therapist😉