Did You Give Your All? Yes? So Opt for “Job Well Done!”

Living with Depression

“So what does it take? I’m living with depression and devoting all of my energy to learning how to beat anxiety. And it’s one shortcoming after another. Truth is I’m a failure, and I seriously can’t take it anymore!”

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Listen to me, okay? It’s gonna’ be alright.

If you’re giving your all, even for a moment, in the midst of living with depression and/or learning how to beat anxiety, I know the presence of even one symptom can equate to perceived failure. Yes, I truly know.

But when it’s all said and done, if you can look yourself in the mirror and say “Hey, you really gave it your best shot,” ya’ gotta’ work toward rewarding yourself with a hearty “Job well done!” And that means putting the kibosh on this “What the heck is wrong with you?” biz.

Really now, isn’t this how it almost always goes down? The meeting, date, exam, trip, game, day – you name it – has ended. Well, the dust has settled and in very short order you’re asking yourself, “How did I do?”

But, come on, doesn’t it go well beyond that? I say things quickly move-on to “Was I good enough?” Right? No doubt, time and again it comes down to the “I” evaluation. And it’s typically about somehow coming up short. (By the way, upon whose expectations is the evaluation based?)

Seriously, is that how it is with you?

Well, unless your livelihood relies upon your performance(s), is that appraisal angle the one you really want to go with? Hmmm, I’d sure be mulling that one over.

I submit when it’s all said and done – and the dust has settled – we opt for the following…

“Did I give my all?” or “Did I do my best?” Heck, I’ll take the jock route and offer “Did I leave it all on the field?”

What do you think?

I believe it’s important for anyone to consider – adopt – this mindset. However, it’s crucial for those with leanings toward mood and anxiety “complications” (don’t much like using “disorder”). How unfairly hard – cruel – we can be on ourselves. Can I get a “Duh!” on that?

Any of these ring true?

  • “I was so anxious throughout that meeting today. That shouldn’t be happening this far into therapy. I’m such a joke!”
  • “What a failure I am. All I wanted was even one minute of joy today, and I couldn’t manage to come up with it.”
  • “I was so depressed and anxious this morning, it was all I could do to force myself out of the house. I’m such a weak-stick!”

My gut says you identified with one or more or those self-lashings.

Fact! You work so hard on your mood and/or anxiety circumstances. I know you do, and you deserve so much better than a chop to the throat. So why not just leave it at feeling good about giving your all? It really can be that simple.

Here, perhaps one of my poems will provide some inspiration and direction…

What You Can

You give what you can
When you have it
You take it in stride
When you don’t
You do what you can when you feel it
It isn’t a crime if you won’t

You say what you can
When the words are at hand
You keep it inside when they’re not
You be what you can if the cupboard’s bare
You can’t play it cool when you’re hot

Who are you
Who am I
Acting on command
I don’t need to play the part to do the best I can

Being you
Being me
Drop the fake demands
I don’t need to go beyond
The one I know I am

Chipur reader, if you’re living with depression or spending buckets of energy gaining insight into how to beat anxiety, give yourself the hugest of breaks, okay? Come on, claim satisfaction in having given your all.

Oh, I know there’s so much you want to accomplish – so much pain you’d like to leave in the rear-view mirror. But your mission and effort are so worthy of recognition. Surely you’ve earned that hearty “Job well done!”

Won’t you say, and receive, it?

More Chipur titles await your perusal. Dig on in.

  • Patricia Miller October 6, 2013, 10:53 pm

    This is an encouraging article, and the poem is exceptionally lovely. The sentiment is so touching and speaks to me so poignantly because I find it so tough to ease up on the self-condemnation and judgement. With anyone else, their best would always be more than sufficient, yet for myself that it is generally lacking if it is not perfection. You’ve spoken the truth; I just need to accept it.

    • chipur October 7, 2013, 6:26 pm

      Yes, Patricia, pulling-in the reins on self-condemnation and judgment is no small task. And what a huge role our standard of perfectionism plays in all of this. Isn’t it fascinating that we cling to something we just gotta’ know isn’t achievable? Yet on we go so very self-deceived. I like your final six words – they say it all. Perhaps if we have the courage to recognize and accept our very funky ways of thinking and approaching life, we can do what it takes to straighten the path. Thank you so much for your continued readership and “commentship”…

  • Leslie Ferris October 7, 2013, 11:18 pm

    Thanks Bill for another good one. I actually think is is a great message for everyone, with or without depression or anxiety. Giving anything our best shot has to be good enough just by itself. Otherwise the benchmark just keeps moving out and we never reach it, always leading to disappointment. Ugh, that’s no way to have things…..

    • chipur October 8, 2013, 11:06 am

      Well, thanks, Leslie. I sure enjoy pumpin’ those “good ones” out. Yeah, I think this applies to everyone – certainly those dealing with mood/anxiety shtuff. Dang, we can be so hard on ourselves, totally disregarding how hard we work – and the positive outcomes we produce. I’m with you, “…that’s no way to have things.” Thank you so much for stopping by again, Leslie. Always appeciated…

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh October 9, 2013, 12:01 am

    Inspiring article, Bill. We do too often overlook our efforts and focus only on the big achievements. Good reminder here to appreciate every step of the way.

    • chipur October 9, 2013, 1:30 pm

      Thanks for the compliment, Cathy. High praise coming from a writer as good as you. Kind of like one of those “in the moment” things – appreciating ourselves and saying, “Job well done.” Beats the heck out of self-thrashing…

  • Lisa Frederiksen October 9, 2013, 7:02 pm

    What a powerful piece, Bill – you really know how to touch a person where they are – though I’ve not had depression the way you describe, I have had similar experiences and and felt the feeling I’ve had in those arenas when someone’s message is such that I know they know. And regardless of the issue, your underlying message that we have to change our self-talk away from what we haven’t done or should do to patting ourselves on the back for having given it our all. And I loved your poem – beautiful.

    • chipur October 9, 2013, 10:11 pm

      Aw, Lisa, you’re such a loyal reader and participant – and it means a lot. No doubt about it, we do, indeed need to change our self-talk. But, man, is that a toughie. You know, I have a true heart for those who struggle with that. It’s so easy to hand a client a bunch of manual-based cognitive-behavioral mumbo-jumbo, and say, “Now go get ’em, tiger!” Um, not quite that easy, and my clients know I understand that. Hmmm, I could go on and on, I suppose – but for now it’s about acknowledging the opportuntiy to give ourselves a hug – and thanking you for sharing…

  • Jody Lamb October 12, 2013, 4:23 pm

    Hi Bill, I so enjoy your writing voice. It’s very engaging! Thanks for the reminder to think positively about ourselves. There’s a lot of talk about remembering to do that when looking at those around us but it’s just as important to do the same with ourselves. Thanks, Bill.

    • chipur October 12, 2013, 4:33 pm

      Hey, Jody – glad you stopped by and dropped us a line. Thanks for the kind words. Amazing how we can sure dish out the positives to others, but when it comes to us we’re so often empty handed. That’s just goofy and needs a fix. Thanks for participating, and please come back…

  • Dr. Herby Bell October 14, 2013, 8:20 am

    Another breath of fresh air as I nod YES! down through your thoughtful insights. I’m just so clear that it’s gotta be like you say, “Hey, PAUSE and ask yourself” and hook back up with, “The one I know I am.” Spectacular. I just love the FACT that my noggin is reprogrammable every holy instant–just takes practice and pretty soon, like breathing, my mind-body digs it entirely. Excellent way to start my week, Bill. Thank you!

    • chipur October 14, 2013, 9:39 am

      Hey, Herby, you’re more than welcome. Glad I could help you get your week off to a good start. I’m not naive, and I know pausing and daring to part from the norm of self-criticism – and actually being good to oneself – isn’t easy work. But it’s a process and can be achieved. Ah, but first it’s all about that PAUSE. Thanks, as always, for your loyal readership and participation…