Catching myself doing something well

Why is it when we c*ck something up we come down on ourselves harder than a ton of bricks, berating and belittling ourselves, but when we do something well it passes by almost unnoticed or we assign the success as down to something other than ourselves?  In psychology this is known as the fundamental attribution error and I’m really good at this type of thinking and in the past it quite often led to me picking up a drink!

So having publicly called myself out for not handling a situation with my kids well earlier in the week I am now going to pat myself on the back for doing the opposite.  Same scenario, just before school, when everyone is in a hurry but this time I didn’t yell but stopped and listened and rather than make a child cry I helped them dry their tears and go to school with their head held high rather than their head dropped low.

I don’t know if it would have played out the same had I had a hangover but I believe, and feel, that the clear head is helping me be more patient and have more compassion than I was capable of before.  When I don’t quite manage to handle something as well as I could I am quicker to see the need for apology and to move to repair the damage more swiftly.  Both lead to less shame and guilt and therefore less desire to pick up a drink!

I’m also not very good at recognising that doing something well for yourself is something worthy of pride.  So with pride I say day 69 🙂


5 thoughts on “Catching myself doing something well

  1. This is really awesome!! Every parent knows the strength of ‘catching a child doing something well, and reinforcing the good behaviour’. Why are we so slow to apply this to ourselves as we, in our new sobriety, are learning to re-parent ourselves, learning to show the gentleness and compassion many of us missed in our real childhoods- which your children are experiencing in abundance as you showed them with this episode. Yay for you!!!

    CarrieK at Day #31

  2. Thanks CarrieK! I loved the ‘re-parent yourself’ part of your comment. It’s easier to be kinder to ourselves and those all around us when our head isn’t fogged with alcohol and therefore shame and regrets. Yay to you on Day 31 too:)

  3. Hooray day 69!!!!! and I love how the longer you are living sober the more figuring out and forgiving and growing and settling you are doing. Awesome xxx

  4. Yes we like to come down hard on ourselves and circumnavigate against any sort of self-congratulatory pats on the back. Old ways of thinking. I spent 40 years telling myself I was a piece of shit, so just because I put the bottle down, that thinking doesn’t go away automatically. Self loathing came before the bottle did, and the drink made it worse. So it has taken me time to come around to realizing that I am not a screw up in this new sober life. I do screw up, but those mess ups don’t define me (any more).

    congrats on day 69.


  5. Mrs D & Paul Thank you for your congrats. And I agree Paul – the thinking doesn’t go away automatically but at least I am doing one less negative thing to myself which was reinforcing that shitty feeling. Feels good 🙂

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