Who’s your harshest critic?

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CC via Jan Tik on Flickr

I’ve been paying a lot closer attention recently to how I feel at certain moments, and what triggers those feelings. This past weekend, Julie’s awesome sister and brother-in-law came to visit Julie and I here in New York. They are both really great people and I enjoy spending time with them, so I knew I would have fun. But lurking in my excitement was my good old friend, insecurity.

I chose a different path, I chose not to take a job or do anything I am “supposed” to be doing, yet I struggle to proudly claim this, especially around good friends, family, or Julie’s family. I feel that question with such weight: “What do you do?” I hate that question, and whenever I anticipate being asked that or challenged in it, I feel the back of my hairs stand up like a dog gearing up for a fight. I feel unsure about my path at the moment sometimes because I haven’t reached my destination. I feel like people from the outside looking in will see someone not doing anything, and I decided awhile ago that someone not doing anything is not someone I want to be. Yet, that’s how I label myself when people ask me that question. But their’s power in here for me in recognizing these feelings of insecurity. It begs for a change of perspective.

Easing into my time with them, my guard went down and the list of prepared defenses faded to the back of my mind. I can see now the truth: they respect me and believe in me more than I have myself sometimes. They don’t question what I’m doing with skepticism, they question it with interest and admiration. I was prepared for a fight, they were just prepared to hang out and learn more about me. It turns out the harshest judge of my progress, the harshest critic of my life I’ve ever met, is me.

The good news is that I’m also the easiest judge to sway. The answers all lie in a tweak of perspective. I can see really that I’m making fantastic progress, that when I go beyond looking for changes each day, I’ve come a really long way in a short time. I’ve come so far without patting myself on the back for progress, and I forgot that personal victories should always be rewarded. It took some friends to hand some pats on the back to remind me I should pat myself on the back every once in awhile. I’m moving forward each day…that’s what I “do.”

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5 responses to “Who’s your harshest critic?”

  1. Dave Askaripour says :

    hey dan — if you are secure and confident in what you do, then you have nothing to fear.. no matter what anyone else has to say. you are right, you’re the “only” judge of yourself and that’ll always be true. keep at it!

  2. Bradley Woods >> Conceive, Believe, Achieve says :

    Whoa! You trying to give me a heart attack with that picture? :-)This is great stuff man and I have nothing to add to this. Seems you are growing by leaps and bounds these days.This post made me think about certain aspects of my life in a different perspective as well. I think people can feel that perspective. I think it all comes down to how you see yourself.When you step out on your own to make your dreams a reality it takes real courage to keep things in their proper perspective.I have times where my emotions are high and my imagination is running crazy. What brings me back to reality is when I think about NOW. When I bring myself down to that base level of thinking about the present moment it clears things up for me. I find the things I worry about are not in the NOW and things are not as bad as they seem. I am learning how to do this and its making a big difference in my life.You inspire me Dan and I can relate to you because your out their chasing your dreams. Looking forward to the future man! Talk to you soon

  3. Ben Casnocha says :

    Great post Dan. The fact that you are reflecting on and thinking about these issues is awesome. They’re complex and in some ways always-present at all stages of life, I think.All the best.

  4. Douglas woods says :

    Your harshest critic will possibly be me if you again put a headline with ‘whose’ instead of ‘who’s’ … LOL

  5. danputt1 says :

    Thanks for the great comments and words of encouragement.@Doug: Good catch, and I’ve changed it. I am usually the one who catches grammatical errors, and I can’t believe I missed that. My mom would be disappointed, but that’s what happens when you don’t necessarily proofread your work.

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