Putting excessive pressure on yourself

“Stop beating yourself up.” My girlfriend was right. I was being too harsh on myself today.

We were about to have our Saturday brunch and I was feeling shit for not doing anything this morning that I would consider productive.

It didn’t help that it was approaching 2pm, we hadn’t had any food. Also, there was no sign of the sandwich and eggs we had ordered 40min ago. The orange juice and hot chocolate were long gone.

Was I really upset about this?

I had been working hard all week.

Was it the end of the world that I didn’t have the inspiration to write a new article this morning?

Or was I just putting myself under excessive pressure, for the sake of it?

Probably a little bit of both.

We were sitting onthe bar seats facing the street. There wasn’t much going on outside and that was giving me space to think about the way I felt.

Shops, schools, everything would still be closed after Storm Emma and the snow was just starting to melt.

We were observing a group of teenage Spanish students waiting for an hour in the cold, probably for a language class or a city tour to start.

I would look at them, then nervously turn around for the waitress to check if the food is coming, and then again remember how I felt.

What I would do differently

I only recently realised it was something damaging and negative that I was doing to myself.

I naturally have this sense of urgency, so I want to get things done immediately. But pushing myself all the time is not healthy, for me and for those around me.

I wanted to turn my internal dialogue into a positive and constructive experience.

What would I do differently from now on?

Next time I catch myself thinking “I haven’t done enough” or “I’ve wasted the last hour”, I would acknowledge its existence and put it to the side.

It’s not true or false. It just is. And I would let myself do the best I’m capable of today.

I didn’t come up with this practice on my own. The technique was a combination of what I had learned from these two — I recommend them to anyone dealing with anxieties

  • “The Five Minute Journal” created by Intelligent Change Inc
  • “The Happiness Trap” book by Russ Harris

When we came back home, I was still taken over by the pressure. I would start writing. Then I would pause. It wasn’t working and I was pouting and loudly sighing. None of the 2 articles that were in progress were going anywhere.

Then I remembered, I write best when I write about my strongest and deepest emotion.

And I started writing about this day.

I hope you enjoy it!


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