I’m the sort of sensitive soul who spends a large part of her daily routine in mental flagellation. By this I mean I rarely focus on the things I’ve done well, preferring to (or defaulting to a state of putting) focus on the negatives. At the moment, for example, I’m repeatedly chastising myself for finding it hard to concentrate on a single task for any length of time.
Some years ago, during my first flirtation with the practice of meditation and its various literary companions, I remember coming across the term ‘monkey mind,’ which I felt at the time (as I do now) so perfectly encapsulated my own mind it could have been invented especially for me. People with monkey minds, like myself, are constantly jumping from one thought (or branch, sticking with the monkey metaphor) to another, barely pausing for breath before moving on to the next one.
I speak from experience when I say this is an exhausting way to exist, but despite numerous (albeit half-arsed) attempts to calm my monkey mind through meditation and other such interventions I’ve failed to ever truly conquer it. So you can imagine just how draining it is not only to be afflicted with a monkey mind but also a mind that tends to err on the negative side of just about everything – especially when it comes to acknowledging personal achievements.
So today despite the whisperings telling me I spent too long on this task, not long enough on that, or that I could have done things so much better than I did, I’ve decided to stick two fingers up at the negative monkey mind and recognise what I did well. Maybe I didspend too long procrastinating over my emails first thing, and maybe the wording of that email to those journalists wasn’t quite right, but you know what? I wrote some pretty punchy contributions to the Guardian’s live chat on pay by results funding which built some decent kudos for my charity and I created a kick ass spread sheet of media contacts. So there, stupid monkey, take that.
Whether you’ve a negative monkey mind like me or not, why not take a minute to think about the things that you did well today? I hope you feel a glow of satisfaction as you think about them – because you should. You deserve it.