Don’t be too hard on yourself

We fool ourselves about success and time.  Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Those who suffer from mental health issues are often hard on themselves.  Part of regaining health is to find a more comfortable place for the self-view in the mind.


An anxious person often has a strong sense that time is running away from them.  There can be an impending sense of failure, as though an impossibly short race is being run.  There is frequently an accompanying need to control the course of events.  The combination of the two – the need to control events, and the sense of limited time, can result in almost unbearable pressure.

This can lead to a poor self-view.  If a person has grown up with a success-or-failure approach to life, then each event ends up being judged on whether it can be presented as a success or not.  Combined with the sense of limited time, panic ensues.  This panic can be over a very short space of time, as with a person who is desperate to resolve a relationship problem in a single conversation, and becomes unnecessarily aggressive or invasive in the process.  Or it can span days, weeks or months, if the preoccupation relates to career or vocational ‘success’ or ‘failure’.


Logically, a couple of simple changes can be made to conceptual thoughts to lessen such pressure.

  1. Firstly, a radical revision of the concept of success.  There is often a delusional aspect to an anxious person’s view of success.  For example, a person might grow up adopting a parent’s belief that success is to be measured in terms of a particular career, or a particular life pattern, or a particular financial profile.  The anxious person ends up measuring themselves against that adopted ideal, which may be alien to their nature.  With time, or the assistance of a good friend, helper or therapist, It is possible to drop such delusional success-measures.

  2. Secondly, a different approach to time.  The perception of limited time has many aspects, and it may be possible to create smaller ‘time-havens’ in between larger time limitations; or simply to understand that adopted time limitations are themselves delusional, and can be dropped.
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Many mental health issues come with an uncomfortable self-view.

Accompanying anxiety is often a sense of failure, and a sense of limited time.

It is possible to challenge both.

Firstly, a delusional view of success and failure can be challenged, and dropped.

And secondly, the perception of limited time can be softened, so that a person’s relationship with time itself can become smoother and less pressured.