I do not recall spending long hours in front of a mirror loving my reflection.
That’s the main reason I have yet to finish my MA thesis.
Sure, there are some other minor factors involved, including the baby and a work project. Still, I’m the type of person who gets things done when she wants something done.
However, analysing your own behavior in something, bit by bit, sentence by sentence, is about as inviting as sticking needles under your fingernails. At least when there’s a significant gap between how you behaved in the situation then and how you would behave now, knowing what you know.
I actually blogged about the same phenomenon when I was working on my teacher training research paper on the same data. That was two years ago. Since then, I’ve read through volumes of theory and research on teaching.
And yes, I feel quite embarrassed for myself back then. It’s like looking through old photos and seeing yourself wearing the most hideous outfit that, back then, seemed like the height of awesome.
It’s not me, though
One of the highly useful concepts that come from Havi is the thought of Me from Then, Now and the Future. As in, they are all different people with different knowledge, different thoughts, different goals and all around different outlooks on life.
They all do share some characteristics (well, mainly the characteristic of inhabiting my body at some moment in time) and some history. Still, they are not Me, in the sense that they are not in the place, mentally or temporally, that I am right this moment.
When it comes to self-compassion, it’s very useful to treat those versions of me as if they were completely different individuals. The different Past Me versions did what they felt was best at that moment, based on the knowledge they had then. They had their own blocks and stucks, they dealt with them as best they could, and they got me where I am today.
The best course of action for me right now is to be compassionate towards them.
Case in point: The Thesis Data Me
I’ve transcribed my data and finished one layer of analysis on it. That means I’ve bumped into the cringe-worthy moments of the lesson several times. Whenever I encounter one of those moments, I have a few choices.
The first choice, and the one I’ve mostly been picking: get embarrassed and beat Present Me up for the stuff Thesis Data Me is doing, quit working on my thesis for now, and come back to it when I’ve gathered enough mental strength to face the mistakes.
The other choice would be to allow Present Me to view Thesis Data Me as the person she was, strengths and weaknesses and all, and let go of wanting to change the behavior of Thesis Data Me. I can welcome the thought that if Present Me would do things differently, that must mean some learning has happened.
Furthermore, if I allow Thesis Data Me to be as she was, it is easier for me to give her compassion instead of disapproving of her. By giving Thesis Data Me some approval, I’m getting a slice of it myself, and I won’t feel as sorry for her for not getting that approval from the pupils in the data.
And that would probably help Present Me work on my thesis more enthusiastically. 😉
Thank you again for stopping by! If this sparked any ideas of how you relate to Past Me vs. Present Me, please do share in the comments, and subscribe to the feed if you want to stay updated in the fascinating journey that is finishing my thesis.
Oh, and keep catching your own insightings!