Seneca advises that we should be forgiving of others and critical of ourselves.
I enjoy reading and reflecting on Stoic philosophy, because as a blueprint for thinking, and as an operating system for navigating the day-to-day, I think it’s golden.
Without getting Freudy about it, I often find myself caught in a chain of doubts and uncertainty and criticism of my position, my performance and my results. There’s so much more to learn, so much more to experience and so many more people to meet.
The problem with only have these thoughts is that it’s negative, self-defeating and doesn’t provide guidance.
I don’t know about you, but something that confuses me more than anything is when people complain about things that are totally outside their locus of control. For example, declaring its a bad day because of the weather (which is something I sometimes fall into the habit of doing).
In contrast, I’ve been practicing a different form of gratitude in the mornings when I get up.. Actively acknowledging and remembering that I have legs, and I can see, and I can move, run and jump and smell and gosh. Most of us have largely very healthy, functioning bodies. Extraordinary bodies that do some extraordinary things. Remembering this, and then being mindful of it makes every day fantastic! How can it not be? We can walk or see or talk or hear.
Occasional self-criticism is important for personal growth and moving forward into different mis(adventures) and living in whatever way compels you. But also balancing it with remembering what you’ve achieved, and of where you’ve come from is huge.
Having friends that, if you ask them, will provide an outsider’s perspective on your goals, lifestyle and strategy is important because of their detachment. Ask them to be critical. They’ll soften it by nature of being your friends, but the external view will give a different angle on life.
Likewise, cherish friends that are positive beams of light. The excited, happy and positive people are really critical to my own day-to-day. It’s easy to do either. Being positive takes some guts because people default to the negative.
Our disposition can be shaded a different colour & our behaviours are malleable. Sometimes, its helpful to criticise what we do, but sometimes, its helpful to celebrate.