Severe and Ruthless Toward Ourselves
I like the quote below by the late Thubten Yeshe.
Most people have had the experience of starting a diet, then slipping and eating a cookie and just giving up. Or beginning a New Year’s Resolution, only to abandon it when the results didn’t come quickly.
It’s good to be reminded to take it easy, to just keep moving in the right direction:
Throughout your Dharma practice you must never push yourself, but on the contrary you should try to be at ease and to do only what is possible at the moment. If you push yourself beyond your capacity you may shock your entire nervous system, thus producing an extremely negative reaction; you may even give up trying to deal with your delusions altogether.
Even though we are adults we have the minds of children. A child’s mind requires especially tender care; we need great skill and patience to deal with it. It cannot endure being squeezed, or pushed beyond its limits. Yet many spiritual seekers are perfectionists whose egos impel them to try and advance too quickly. They are severe and ruthless toward themselves, and end up in a state of tension. They become frustrated and angry with themselves and everyone around them. Of course it is good to strive for perfection, but we must be practical. It is best to go by degrees, step by step. Otherwise you are likely to jump in too quickly and break your leg. To succeed in your Dharma practice it is best to be at ease, relaxed and down-to-earth, to adjust the intensity of your practice day by day according to your situation.