Bad girl, bad dog, bad person: don’t beat yourselves up, please

Just look at this face. Good boy!

Yesterday I still felt zamfizzled. If you are zamfoozled about what that means please click here.

However, some chores were accomplished. Christmas decorations now deck the halls of our little house in the woods. We’re also smack-dab in the middle of assembling our new deck grill. (Old deck grill calved a few weeks ago and we plunged into purchasing another one even though it’s not grilling season, per se. We do grill in winter, though, at odd times, so we bought our new simple three-burner CharBroil.)

This morning I woke up peaceful, zizzed (definition: make a whirring or buzzing sound) and eager to shake hands with the world. Energy buzzes through the kingdom once again. A walk? YES! Can’t wait. Cleaning? Now don’t get carried away, Kathy.

A dog who followed me on a walk once

We’re planning to wrap and package Christmas presents for the kids. With three billion estimated packages zinging through the nation’s thoroughfares this season, we’ve decided to ship early. Hopefully tomorrow.

In the old days–say, two years ago–I might emerge from a state of zamfizzlry feeling sad, annoyed, despairing. I’ve always had such a strong remembrance of my purpose here on this planet (to more deeply realize and embody the holy heart) and when this failed to happen to my satisfaction I tended to beat myself up.

Oh, Kathy, you’ve failed once again. What a schmuck. Can’t you get this right? You are such a mess. Why CAN’T you live your ideals? You are an awful human being. You will never make it. You just need to try harder. Bad girl, bad dog, bad person.

Christmas long ago. With dog Bucky

I don’t know if any of you can resonate with this. I find that more women than men can usually nod their heads. It also seems that sensitive souls understand. Those with high standards for themselves. Those who don’t like the rhythmic downs of life. Those who want to be good peeps all the time with none of this human nonsense of seemingly failing over and over again. The word sin actually means: missing the mark. Interesting, huh?

Folks like my husband just shake their heads. Why would anyone blame themselves? They don’t get it. They just logically and rationally get back to the drawing board and try again. Or they don’t try. But they certainly wouldn’t take out an inner whip.

Two years ago I studied with a teacher who finally woke me up to this truth. We don’t have to beat ourselves up. We truly don’t. We can fully and totally and whole-heartedly see the Holy even in our humanity, our most challenging human behavior. We can relax knowing that the “negative” experiences of despair and low energy and sadness are OK, too.

What a relief!

Long, long ago. Barry and our dog, Tasha, playing Scrabble together

To watch our human tendency to grasp, to anger, to fuss, to cry–and to pat ourselves on the head afterward and whisper, “Oh, dear human, it’s OK, it’s fine, I’m with you, thank you for teaching me.”

Then we return to the drawing board yet again and write in the highest ideal that our heart knows is true. What the heart knows is true. What the heart knows is true. (I keep typing that sentence because it’s not enough to forgive ourselves for being human. We also need to keep pointing our inner compass toward True North. Toward our home within the Holy. I do believe.)

If any of you readers tend to beat yourselves up like I did (OK, and occasionally still do, but not as often) please remember that the Holy loves you. That you are enough just as you are. That you’re not alone in being imperfect. In fact, I wager a guess that most of us are imperfect, even those of us who wear perfect-looking masks disguising our imperfection.

P.S. Thanks to all the dogs who decided to illustrate the photos in this post. They don’t like hearing they are “bad dogs” either. They are good dogs who just get a little rambunctious or crazy at times. Pet them. Be loving, but firm. Kiss ’em on their snouts. Rub them bellies. Train ’em up good, those sweet inner creatures of the psyche.

This picture appeared in my blog years ago. It says Henry the dog. I have no memory of who Henry was. But he was a good dog. A very good dog. He was enough, just as he was.

Day 50 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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32 Responses to Bad girl, bad dog, bad person: don’t beat yourselves up, please

  1. Susan D. Durham says:

    Oh, all those wonderful dogs. Good dogs! “Sweet inner creatures of the psyche.” The scrabble picture is priceless! Thanks for this reminder today. Why is it so hard to refrain from beating ourselves up, or at least it is for me. Seems like a life-long process and practice to learn to be okay with it when we fall short, when we’re simply human. Even this requires going back to that drawing board, and you support that that is just fine. Thank you again, my friend.

    • Kathy says:

      Those sweet inner creatures of the psyche…and we call ourselves bad dogs. How could we, Susan Dee? I so agree with you about how it can be a lifelong process and we just have to get back up and dust ourselves off and try to do better next time. Glad you liked the doggie pics. The dogs were not sure they wanted to illustrate such a bog that called them “bad dogs” but I assured them it would wrap around to something more positive. Woof, woof! they agreed.

  2. Larissa says:

    As I finished reading this, I heard the end of Judas’ death scene from Jesus Christ Superstar in my head – the choir singing “Poor old Judas, so long Judas…” So then I had to go find it on YouTube and give it a listen (for the first time in almost 40 years). Wow, what a tortured soul! It was hard to listen. My cat came over and sat on my chest to help me. Good kitty.

    The need to keep turning towards what the heart knows is true reminds me of something one of my teachers said. She suggested that we ask ourselves, “What is the purpose of grief?” She said that the process of answering the question would lead us back towards our hearts if we felt lost. I’ve found that to be true. I don’t know that everyone would, but I am a bit of a grief nerd.

    Tasha looks like such a clever girl ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Larissa, oh my, I know that song inside and out. Both metaphorically and literally. Used to listen to Jesus Christ Superstar over and over and over again. Thinking about the Judas part of all of us. Poor old Judas, so long Judas. I am glad you had your kitty there to help you through. And your teacher was so wise about grief…

      Guess what? We also think Tasha might be part coyote. I think I wrote a story about her once on here. Oh! Here it is, just for you. https://upwoods.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/the-creature-let-out-a-wild-howling-frightened-scream/

      • Larissa says:

        Somehow I’m not surprised you’re familiar with that song.

        Thanks for the link! I loved reading about Tasha, and about some of your other youthful adventures ❤

        • Kathy says:

          Larissa, thank YOU! Every time the computer said you “liked” one of those posts I went back there and read it, too. I could remember writing a “memoir” but really enjoyed going back there and reading and remembering once again.

  3. dawnkinster says:

    I think it’s more women than men who need to remind themselves not to beat themselves up. In fact I’ve rarely met a man who treats himself like that. We women need to stop it. We might feel like we’re responsible for everything, but we don’t have to be, and therefore we don’t have to consider ourselves failures if we don’t get everything done. So feel good about what you accomplish and let the rest go. And definitely treat yourself on days you need some extra comfort. I recommend home made chocolate cookies. But that’s just me.

    • Kathy says:

      Isn’t that odd, Dawn, that men don’t usually do this? And that we can feel we’re responsible for so much? As for those chocolate chip cookies, they sound very good. I wish I had one now.

  4. candidkay says:

    Among the wonderful new words I’ve learned in this post, also some wise words:). Why is it we make sport of beating ourselves up? Critical parent voice? Whatever the reason, I’m game to stop:). I’ll join you!

    • Kathy says:

      I’m game, too, candidkay! I love that it’s mostly stopped here in the last couple of years. But I also think it’s cool we can all talk about it so we don’t think we’re the only ones playing this sport.

  5. I’m familiar with that inner whip, I try to remind myself more often that we’re all in this world just trying to do our best!

  6. Debbie says:

    That’s a great picture of Barry and Tasha playing Scrabble! She looks like she’s intent on getting the biggest bang for her letters. And all these other dogs? I love them. Yes, they make me miss Dallas even more, but nothing will extinguish the hope in my heart that the right new pup will … eventually … come along!

    • Kathy says:

      That was a great picture, wasn’t it? So many years ago. I am sorry if any of the doggie pictures made you miss Dallas even more, but it sounds like someday you will find a new love to fill your days. ((hugs))

  7. I so agree about women holding themselves to a higher standard, or holding themselves more responsible for falling short. Somewhere along the road, we tend to internalize (I speak for myself, here, but maybe it is true for many women) any judgments we’ve encountered, adding them to the lists (long lists!) of checkpoints we use to determine if we’re okay or not. I think men are more likely to toss those things aside. It’s not that they cannot be self-critical, too, but they don’t have the burden we carry. I catch myself using comments I heard – or maybe even just imagined were said – about something I did or something I wore, fifty years ago or more, to still influence my behavior or manner of dress today! It takes a conscious effort to rise above it all, and just live, and just be satisfied with this flawed human that I am. Thoughtful good post, Kathy, thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, those inner checkpoints we follow determining if we’re too much or not enough. It’s really hard when these self-critical voices chime in. I think a lot of us women really get this. Not every one, but many of us. Such a burden. Maybe time for us to release our heavy burdens. I am glad you came over here to see this post. xoxo

  8. Stacy says:

    I nod my head, and say yes, I beat myself up. It’s hard when you really, really try to change some things, and you fall short. If I didn’t try, I wouldn’t feel bad about failing.

    All dogs are good dogs, aren’t they? XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      Stacy, ((hugs)) to you and me and all of us who have beaten ourselves up. I think the Holy is all about love and showing us how to be compassionate to ourselves and others without taking out the whip. The Old Testament is filled with the whip, but Jesus came to bring us Christ consciousness and put away our whips. I so believe. And yes, sweet doggies, sweet humans, no name calling. xoxo

      • Stacy says:

        We agree. Especially this time of year, Advent, we need to remember why he came and try our best to live up to the promise. To start with oneself. XOXO

  9. Barry’s plaid shirt took me back. I bet it was flannel. 🙂 Tim used to wear flannel plaid shirts all the time, except in the summer, and still does occasionally, when feeling chilly.

    I do remember beating myself up in the past, but mostly I’ve learned to roll with the ups and downs. (That’s why the dishwasher is running as I write this this morning… oh, well, no biggie…) 🙂

  10. Lori says:

    I didn’t know you had a dog at one time. So sweet. Tasha looks like she’s really concentrating on those words. 😊

  11. sherrysescape says:

    Oh, my word, you hit the nail on the head – I do so much self-blaming. I like the attitudes you described to get away from that.

  12. Amanda-Lyn says:

    I am definitely a “beat myself up” woman. I constantly think “well if I had done this instead then that would not have happened”. Honestly though, who am I to say that? Only God knows the outcome of every choice I make every minute of every day no matter how small and even when it’s a bad choice He still loves me the same ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Amanda-Lyn, maybe it’s a gentler school here on earth than we think. Maybe we’re allowed to make mistakes. Like you said so beautifully–only God knows the outcome, and He’s perfect love. Maybe that’s what He’s teaching–how to love ourselves as He loves us. And then it’s easier to love others, too.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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