I keep a small picture of myself and my sister when we were children on my desk.
In the picture I’m holding her hand and wiggling, acting up and sticking my butt closer to her and making a funny face. She’s giggling hysterically but trying to stay still. She’s holding my hand and grinning. We’ve both forgotten that our mother is holding a camera to take our picture. We must be four and two years old, just being sisters and making each other happy in front of the apple tree in the back yard.
I keep this picture on my desk because, when I’m feeling pressure of a stressful day and I’m tempted to judge myself for not getting more work done, for not meeting a deadline, or for not getting something quite right, I like to look at that picture and think, “would you like it if someone were as mean to that little girl as you are to yourself?”
No one is out there judging you the way you think they are. Most people are stuck worrying about themselves so much that when they bother to look up, they’re pretty impressed by you.
So ease up on the judgment a bit. Be impressed, too–both with what you’re actually doing and with the world around you. You don’t have to be so mean. Because you’re still a little kid somewhere, holding hands with your sister and giggling. And so is everyone else.