Cut the self-judgement
We see these messages everywhere: “be kind to yourself.” But…do you really take that in? How often do you continue to cut yourself down for mistakes you make or the way you present yourself. It’s something that I struggle with and work on daily.
University is a world where we are defined by numbers, grades and performances. As an athlete, being in a sport which is measured objectively adds another factor which tempts me into incorporating that into my self-definition of “who I am.”
It’s easy to be sucked in to that train of thought. You get a grade back and it’s only a B-, where you were really hoping for an A-. You may, in fact, have even thought you deserved better…. submitting it with confidence and pride, only to have your results leaving you deflated and defeated.
I’ll let you in on a little secret that took me quite some time to actually believe. This does not define you!!! Not. One. Bit.
There are so many things which factor into our daily situations and moods – family troubles, hormones, stress, good news, bad news, lack of sleep or lack of money. These can have a major or subtle impact on how we handle our day to day lives.
Sometimes, things happen. A grade will slip. You’ll have a bad day. You’ll make a mistake. You’ll make 10 mistakes. I’ve been there. I’ve had my fair share of awful grades, days where I just want to give up on assignments and juggling all of the things I have to do and days when I feel absolutely stupid while staring down at a midterm as I blank on all the answers I spent the last week studying for.
It was when I stopped attaching labels to myself that I was able to get past these things without it affecting where I placed myself in the world or in a pre-defined box with respect to what kind of learner I am. I started to truly enjoy it – using ‘stress’ to keep me accountable to my tasks, but not freaking out about anticipation or fear of failure.
The key is to be kind to yourself, which means cutting out the judgement. Toss away the labels. Instead of telling yourself you are ‘bad at tests’ after a few bad tests, remove that thought and just enjoy the process of learning.
Indulge yourself in the material and make a mission to enjoy it. Make it relevant to something that you relate to, be able to explain it to someone who has no idea about the material and see what happens from there. ‘Who you are’ is not what the test results say. Just as ‘who you are’ isn’t defined by numbers and specific actions.
If I’ve learned anything in my five years of university, it’s to let things go; enjoy things moment by moment and don’t define yourself by results of university.
Believe that you are smart, you are deserving to be here, and sometimes things just don’t go the way you planned. We are here to learn, so learn! We’re all in this together, so support each other, smile, and put your heart into it free of judgement.