No one is as hard on you as you.
This should be my motto. My whole life I have been hard on myself, harder than I have needed to be. I have always had a drive to do well, starting when I was young in school, and then progressing into my career. And I'm glad to have that drive, because I've had a lot of amazing experiences because of it. I've lived in four states and traveled out of the country to experience different parts of the world. I have met many people and had lots of jobs. All of these things have made my life interesting and enriched.
And that drive has translated to my yoga practice. When I first started practicing, I always did the hardest variation of every pose, even if I was tired or not physically ready. I folded myself flat into a pancake and was praised for it. Extremes were the norm, and they made me feel better than everyone else, as if there was some kind of prize for being the best at yoga.
But my drive comes at a price. Instead of enjoying my yoga practice, I would get mad if I fell out of a pose. I would leave class feeling bad about myself if I couldn't do the peak pose that was offered. It was horrible. I didn't realize until I did my first teacher training (where I forced to do a bunch of self reflection) that I had these tendencies towards perfection and beating myself up over stupid stuff. And I realized that these tendencies did nothing for me.
And then I started teaching. And I saw so many of my students beating themselves up, which is why I tell my students at least once a class to smile. It's kind of become my thing. But it's amazing when I do that, the energy in the room shifts and the stress and frustration melts away, even if for just a moment.
I recently did a class where I asked everyone to back out of every pose by 10%. I wanted to see if I would see more comfort, ease, and joy in the practice. And I did. It was as if I gave people permission to not feel perfect. It was beautiful. However, the next day, I think everyone forgot they had permission!
So, remember....no one is as hard on you as you. And you have the power to change that. What is the story you tell yourself? How do you change that story? You are a beautiful, unique individual with a history that has made you the person you are today. There is no need to beat yourself or expect perfection. Just be the best you can be. And that is enough.