What I learned from a Carrot

8 Apr

There’s an app you can get called Carrot.  Its a to do list organiser, but a to do list with attitude.  And a grudge.  If you don’t complete a task for a few hours it’s mood turns to wrathful and it thinks up punishments for you.  I resorted to putting in fairly simple tasks that I knew I had to do (get up, shower, drink water) just so I could cross things off the list and keep Carrot happy, or at least placated and not have it drop a house on me.  So if I’m so willing to keep an app on my phone happy through achieving simple things in life – why do I give myself such a hard time for things I perceive as ‘failure’?

I’ve been off work a few weeks now, stress related, so have had lots of time to think.  Sometimes for me that isn’t good as generally my thinking will start off very positive and with lots of goals and aims but then I’ll hit a set back and I’ll see that as a reflection of how crap I am so it reinforces my initial opinion and the spiral of self-hate starts back up.  So why set myself up for failure in the first place?  If I’ll let Carrot have simple tasks to be pleased with, why not do the same for myself?

Take marathon training.  At the beginning of the year I set myself a half marathon and marathon goal.  Things were going great, I was running regularly and had completed an 11 mile run in a couple of hours.  Half marathon was well within my grasp.  But then I picked up an injury – hip feels like its been beaten with an iron bar and has a constant ache in the bone like pressing on a bruise.  Resting hasn’t particularly helped and when I tried to run again, I couldn’t even manage a mile before hobbling home.  So what do I do:  I tell myself I’m a failure, that I can’t even run – even toddlers can run!  I’ve failed on the half marathon and I’m not likely to get the marathon.  But why am I looking at it like this?  Who have I ‘failed’?  No-one else particularly cares.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, as there has been some fantastic support from people both that I know and through Twitter (which is great for keeping you going but can also cause you to judge yourself harshly and unnecessarily when you see what amazing goals others achieve – but for a different blog!).  But in terms of will other people care to an extent where it changes their opinion of me?  I doubt it!  They have their own goals and aspirations and worries.  They’d have been happy for me if I’d succeeded but I doubt they’ll be turning up on my doorstep to chastise and berate me for not doing it!  So why am I not telling myself “well done, you ran 11 miles!  that’s the furthest you’ve run in a long, long time, that’s amazing!”  If I was Carrot I’d have given me a kitten for that!

In similar way, I’ve been looking at my ‘failure’ of a second marriage going down the pan and being on my own, again.  But is that really a failure?  Did I take nothing positive from the experiences?  Did I learn nothing?  Surely there are some positives in there that could be ticked off the list?   I need to relook at those relationships and figure out which bits could be ticked off the list (that’s going to be for another blog, too!)

The stress from work – maybe I need to stop trying to get everything to be perfect?  Nobody else seems to be bothered if things aren’t done absolutely correctly or if things aren’t black and white, so why am I the one putting my head over the parapet to question why things are being done as they are or trying to change it?  I suppose a coaching book would talk about circles of responsibility and circles of concern:  I’m going to look at it like an old pair of knickers instead.  The edges may be a bit frayed, the elastic might be getting worn and the colour is more grey than black or white – but they are keeping my arse covered and so why bother trying to change them!!

So for now, no more setting myself challenges or aims which may just serve to reinforce a negative self-image.  If someone doesn’t want to talk to me or be friends, then so be it; if I don’t eat healthily or lose weight then fine; if I stay single a bit longer, ok; if work doesn’t get done but I’ve done all I can, that’s all I can do.  Maybe at the moment its more important that my head is healthy and fit rather than being a size 12, marathon running Inspector.

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5 Responses to “What I learned from a Carrot”

  1. fitvic April 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Love this, its difficult to look at yourself with any kind of perspective sometimes, even harder to write it down & make it public. takes courage & strength, of which you have lots 😉

    • Leigh Kendall April 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

      We can all be too hard on ourselves sometimes. It’s important to remember to put it in perspective and value our successes rather than dwell on what hasn’t worked out. I’m very guilty of being too hard on myself, but coaching has helped me to gain a new perspective. Keep strong and focus on what’s good.

    • sharonb0087 April 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

      Thank you – in the past I’ve tended to keep everything very bottled up and it hasn’t helped me. Writing it down and putting it out there is my gentle steps into being more open about how things affect me. Very difficult as still a lot of stigma out there. Really appreciate all your support. x

  2. sharonb0087 April 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Thanks, Leigh – I’m hoping the Happiness group might help with the perspective gaining. Did you manage to book a place for Tuesday?

  3. tonyburkinshaw April 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Hi Sharon,
    I thought I’d come and have a look after you read my blog (www.postsofhypnoticsuggestion.wordpress.com). I really like this, you’re writing about important things in a very accessible way.
    All the best
    Tony

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