Do You Ever Feel Like This Poor Little Pine Tree?

We have a nice little walking trail around our yard. Part of this trail goes between a few rows of pine trees that we planted many, many years ago. After our original planting, we came back years later and filled in some holes with more pines. Because the original trees had a head start, the younger trees have grown slowly as they compete for sunlight and nutrients. Although they have been slow growing they have maintained a good level of vigor and health. That is until recently.

A few weeks ago, one of our younger trees finally drooped over. It was as if the little guy finally said “I’m tired, I’m done, I can no longer fight the good fight.” This morning as I was taking my walk, and let me add that I have been feverishly fighting a sinus infection, I looked at our little bent-over friend and said “I know exactly how you feel little buddy!”

Fighting the Good Fight

I don’t know about you, but I have the hardest time telling myself “I’m sick!” I would much rather say “I’m not feeling well.” I think this is because if I tell myself I’m sick, I feel as though I should be at home in bed – or on the couch anyway. If, on the other hand, I’m just “not feeling well,” I can continue to forge ahead
with my life, and when I say forge ahead, I mean at full speed. Why should I cut myself any slack for not accomplishing that lofty list of goals for the week? After all, it’s just a little sniffle. Suck it up, Buttercup! And so it goes and I continue to plod onward.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

And, that got me to thinking: it seems kinda silly that I never want to cut myself any slack when I’m not feeling well. I mean, must I always be so abusive to myself? Then, I had another thought as I sat on the couch that afternoon. What about all the times that I’m not sick. When my body is perfectly healthy (if there is such a thing after 40!); why am I still this hard on myself?  Do I tell myself at times that I don’t measure up? Do I get on to myself when I can’t figure something out? Am I sometimes just not smart enough in my own eyes? I need to do a better job on my diet, I need to exercise more, I need to, need to, need to … And with each passing thought, I slowly begin to look like that sagging pine tree.

Stop Beating Yourself Up

Here’s the difference between that pine tree and your beaten-up self. The pine tree looks like that because it’s being crowded out by other trees around it. But, when you beat yourself up, it’s from self inflicted wounds. It seems kind of ridiculous when you think about it. Take a look at these quotes: 

    • “The shortest shot on the golf course is 6 inches, the six inches between your ears.”
    • “If we don’t beat ourselves, I like our chances of winning the game.”
    • “We are our own worst enemy.”
    • “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (Unlike our little tree that gets crowded out from what “lies” around it, it’s what lies inside of us).
    • Just recently making the list, while waiting in a doctor’s office, from the cover of Golf Digest “I had to stop saying I suck” Max Homa, Professional golfer, and the list could go on forever. I realized that I’m not alone.

I realize from a lifetime of living and raising children, there’s a big world out there. That world can often seem as if it’s trying to crowd you out, trying to grab all the light and nutrients. You have to accept that challenge.

Get Out of the Way

The one thing I have come to realize is that you can overcome any challenge if you just get out of your own way. Yes, that world out there is going to keep coming after you, so you just need to have yourself on your side. When you can accomplish that, you can accomplish anything.

As this year winds down, and a new year is looming, I hope you can reflect on when you may be being hard on yourself and to stop and get you on your side. This will always present a challenge, but through perseverance you can win this battle and live a much happier life as a result. And not get too bent out of shape over little things like when you spill a cup of hot coffee in your lap because you were trying to carry too many things at once. You know, for example 🙂

Game Exercise: Start catching yourself doing something right. There is a great little leadership develop book entitled: The One Minute Manager by Ken Blachard and Spenser Johnson. It is a great read and I encourage you to read it. The basic premise is that so often we go through life pointing out mistakes and faults as opposed to recognizing achievement and talents. I have started the habit of catching myself doing things right and praising myself instead of punishing myself. Yes, it can be challenging and I’m sure it will be an never-ending endeavor but one that I have already witnessed the rewards. Try it yourself. And live a happier life.


Our book Don’t Be a Cow! will be on sale through the holidays for just $9.99. 


beating yourself up, fight, get out of the way, go easy on yourself, Reflecting on life, sick


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