Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.
A man nitpicks about his wife's thoughtless, inocuous comment. He's jealous of people who are more successful than he is. He's prone to a bit of road rage when he forgets himself. He's a good man who feels bad about himself. Why? Not because he's actually failed at anything. Just because his expectations are set too high, for himself and for others. How does that happen? Because no one ever quite taught him that being human means making mistakes, being vulnerable, failing at some things and not at others and that's OK.
Learning tolerance towards oneself and others should begin in early childhood. It comes from being accepted, supported when things go wrong and taught to learn from mishaps and mistakes and from being helped and praised rather than criticized,.How many children get that kind of treatment in their homes and schools? We're not talking about overindulgence, spoiling or false aggrandizement but honest feedback without shame or humiliation. We're talking about respect, which breeds self-respect.
Is it too late to help the man who feels like a loser at his worst and OK at his best? It's never too late for improvement. Someone needs to tell him that he can offer himself greater happiness and appreciation by expecting less of himself and others, acceopting and tolerating weakness, and comforting himself when things go wrong. As he grows in patience and becomes outwardly less demanding and disappointed, his inner rage will dissipate, and his potential for happiness will increase