Podcast: Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself


It’s okay to not get the grade, drop the ball, or miss the shot. It’s okay to not always get it right, our gracious Father loves you. Period.

Join Josh and Dan as they discuss what they would tell their younger selves.

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Josh 0:07
Alright, so here’s the here’s the question we’re gonna love out there and, and talk about I think I’m actually gonna ask different staff members this question, then, if you could go back knowing what you know now, having journey through what you journey through what’s something you wish like, or maybe it made me say this way, if you were sitting down with your younger self, which one thing that you as the older, wiser kinder, you might want to relay to the younger you.

Dan Keefer 0:56
Wow. And it’s interesting that this was primed up a little bit earlier. And the thought that just came to me was not even a thought that I had, like, 30 seconds ago, I would want to tell my younger self, that it’s okay. You don’t have to get it. All right. It’s okay to it’s okay to not be responsible. It’s okay to not be the one that feels like, somehow he’s responsible for other people’s emotions, it’s okay to, it’s okay to drop the ball, it’s okay to miss the shot. It’s okay to not get the grade. It’s okay. It’s okay.

Josh 1:40
So, I would actually say something very similar. I mean, we weren’t not talking to this ahead of time. But I think for me, I would really want to say, you’re gonna make mistakes. And that’s actually a really great part of this process, you’re going to get some bad grades, you’re going to make some bad choices, you’re going to struggle with some sins. It’s not licensed to do those things. But But you do not have to keep beating yourself up and being so hard on yourself about those things, because it’s a human experience, and God’s gonna use it to grow you up. So why why, like, Why Why is your Why do you go there with your thinking about It’s okay,

Dan Keefer 2:16
why I go there is because I spent the better part of my life living with this pressure that was primarily, I think a lot of was internal, I think it was part of maybe an environment I grew up in as well, that I just, I had to get it right, there was no room for there was no room for error, there was no room for mistakes. It’s like if you if you took a play, I played basketball through high school, and you know, the shot had to go in, it was not acceptable. to miss a shot, it was not acceptable to have a turnover. And actually, if you could have listened to me if you’d have been on the court or in the in the stands, listening, when I was playing, you’d have heard me say things to myself out loud, that an individual should never say to anyone else, and most definitely not themselves. The criticism was so harsh. And it wasn’t until probably into my late 30s, early 40s that I was starting to come into this reality after having been a Christian for about 25 years, 35 years, coming to the reality that I’m loved period, and that God actually pursues me. And so even as a child growing up, I lived with this fear that man at any moment if Jesus were to return and I didn’t have every sin I committed confessed, if there was one sin, I hadn’t committed, confessed, I was going to hell. And so I was living in this place of insecurity in this place of fear, and believing and I somehow had to hold it all together and keep it all together

Josh 3:45
a lot of pressure. And

Dan Keefer 3:46
man, I looking back, I realized that that was a part of my life. Seven, eight years old, probably

Josh 3:53
Wow. Yeah, I can relate with the sports thing. I think there are ways for me like, I can think of a couple different settings, I think of a an early sports experience where like when I would miss the ball, I wasn’t until probably late college that I started recognizing that I was the only one who’s who was talking so mainly to myself. Like I’d miss, you know, the catch, and I’d be like, Ah, sorry, sorry, that stunk, you know, bad throat my apology like, and other other players on my team. We’re not doing that. They weren’t saying that to me, and they weren’t saying it to themselves or like, wait, why am I the only one like taking this so hard? I also have an early job. One of my first jobs I was a busboy at Red Robin. Still love their fries, and their whiskey river BBQ chicken burger. This show is not sponsored by Red Robin, by the way, but I was a busboy at Red Robin. And I remember one of my co workers from the waitresses who worked there. She remember one day she said, Josh Why Why are you apologizing all the time? And I was like, What do you mean? And she said, You’re like every like you’re, you know, you’re walking around like we’re all you know, busy and you’re getting in some of these ways. We all are and you keep saying you’re sorry. Like this is just the way it works here and I’m like, oh man, sorry. But I was like, I just had this kind of like, almost this knee jerk apology thing that was going on. And I think it was part of this really being hard on myself. And I almost like if I could go back, I mean, I almost feel this kind of paternal sense of like, I wish I could just take you in my arms. It’s kind of like, hey, you’re gonna be okay. Like, it’s all right.

Dan Keefer 5:18
Yeah, it’s that that picture that you just had there. And that that’s when I, since I primarily work with men, that’s, that’s an image that I’ll often bring up for them. And, you know, ask them, you know, when you have an experience now, do you ever feel like you’re a younger age? And if so, what would it look like for you to come alongside your younger self with compassion? And so that that’s part of what what I would like? I mean, were there people that were coming alongside me and compassion? Yeah, yeah, there were. But to come alongside my younger self, with compassion, with an arm around my shoulder, saying, you know what, it’s okay. You don’t have to be what you think you need to be in order to be accepted and loved. And I think for me, like, there were people like that I

Josh 6:01
can, I can name who they are. And I, whether whatever I said to them outwardly, inwardly, it was like, I pushed them away, I didn’t really believe that their acceptance of me was authentic. I still felt like I had to be on guard in some way. There was a guy who mentored me when I was after I graduated high school, his name was Tom Trinidad. And I remember him looking at me in the eyes and saying, Josh, why are you so hard on yourself? And I also remember my dad saying that to me one point, like, you’re so hard on yourself, and, and I even replied, I’m replying to my dad, at one point, say, Well, look, you know, I’m a Jesus follower, I’d rather be hard on myself now and find out, you know, when I see Jesus face to face, that it’s okay then to not be hard on myself and find out that I should have been, but I didn’t realize like, just how much I like me being hard on myself, me expecting perfection of myself, was actually hindering the kind of growth that I really wanted and needed. I mean, you know, I use the example before of, you know, playing on the on the ball field and, and making mistakes and apologizing. Well, there’s not much that helps you like, be more, or have less for your head eye coordination, just kind of like just to tank, then really scrutinizing everything you do, like, if you want to throw the ball straight, you don’t try to micromanage your arm in that moment, you got to let it go, you got to just kind of trust that your body’s going to, like lineup and so I was working against myself in that area, but I think in other areas, relationally and emotionally and academically, etc.

Dan Keefer 7:32
And yeah, and you make a really good point there. The thing of it is, is that the the tighter we are and the more clenched we are, like I got to make this happen, the more pressure we feel, the less likely we are to end up getting the results that we’re looking for anyways, but it’s Yeah. It’s something very, very real, that thought of wanting to come alongside a younger self and saying it’s okay, you can you can dial it back.

Josh 7:57
So here are a couple things that were my brain goes with this week. One is, it’s actually a sad scenario, when someone who does what we’re describing, actually kind of excels at pushing beyond the areas where they were there, where they stink, or where they’re not doing well, they made bad choices. It’s actually I think, in some ways that grace for someone to continue to struggle and stumble along, because it brings them I think more quickly to the end of themselves, where they have to realize I have a choice here, either to receive grace and kindness as I am, and to accept myself as I am, or to continue to beat myself up and feel as miserable. As opposed to the person who, you know is like, is the achiever who like, you know, they press through, and they’re being hard themselves to, but they, they’re, that being hard themselves makes them to succeed. And then success and more success and more success. And then at some point, they reach that, that ceiling where they’ve gone as far as they can, and they start, they start tanking or somewhere along the line they do, like, I remember doing like, they find a drug of choice, like I got to find it, you got to let the air out somewhere, you got to let the pressure out somewhere. And so for me, I know I you know, random TV, I ran the porn I ran to isolation. Before I began to learn, let some of those kind voices compassionate voices, gracious, self accepting voices in

Dan Keefer 9:17
something that thinking back about that younger era, also, that I would like to communicate or even have a do over is just in the awareness of what it meant for my relationships with others. People saw me as a good guy, as a leader, as a guy who pretty much had it together. And yet, it was almost as though I was keeping up this facade. And what would it have been like to be able to drop that? Because I think as I look back on relationships, there are remember having a conversation with the guy that would have been my best friend in high school. And I was at his place for adults. This is probably like less than five years ago. And he’s talking back about our high school years and playing basketball and he’s remembering it in this way. That mean he’s telling this story and I’m like, would have been awesome. But wait, I was there. And I didn’t experience it as be awesome. Yeah. And so there’s a loss that that I experienced even as my friend Dean was talking about that and, and this longing that, Man, I wish I could go back and have a do over and experience it like I heard him experiencing it. So also, what would I say to my younger self? It’s, it’s be open to relationships. Yes, yeah. Drop the mask, you don’t have to be something you’re not. Yeah. And just be you relax. Yeah.

Josh 10:34
And let people in. Yeah. And it. And those two for me are, I mean, those two are directly correlated, you know, like, I gotta keep the mask up, I got to hold it together. Can’t let people in because they know the real me, I’m in trouble. So I got to keep like, really, you know, pulling, pulling up as hard as I can. So So other questions will kind of let me just turn a corner here. Before we wrap up. Do you need to hear that, today? Is the message that your younger self needs to hear. Dan, is it something that you actually need to hear today?

Dan Keefer 11:04
Absolutely. Absolutely, unequivocally. It’s a message that I mean, for me, I guess for others as well. You can’t hear enough. Because I still there’s still that that part that, unfortunately has some life. And I know it’s not. It’s not the life in Christ. I know that it there’s a spiritual element to that, that battle that goes on. And I know there are people in my life who speak that message of grace and acceptance and love. And there’s still, at times, it’s hard to be able to receive and embrace that. there’s part of me that still says, Yeah, but yeah,

Josh 11:41
yeah. Yeah. And I asked the question, because, you know, not for me, I’m done. You know, I figured out No, I actually know Josh, even as we’re talking, I’m finding myself like, Oh, you know what, I actually really need to hear that today. And I, I’ve heard some people say, and I, you know, I do want to hear when Christ returns. I do want to hear the words good. Well done good and faithful servant. Like that would be so sweet. But there’s another part of me that just wants to hear him say, hey, it’s okay. He’s okay. I mean, like, just, I got you, I love you, you know, and, and it is a message I need to hear. And I’m grateful for the voices in my life, the people in my life today who still point out that that kind of hyper self critical nature and who can help me to laugh at some of the yet to be redeemed and sanctified parts of me because I need that I need people who know me who see my faults who know, my, you know, my stumblings and my thumb, Ling’s, you know, the areas of sin that I still wrestle with, and who embraced me and I need to keep practicing receiving their, their their embrace their acceptance. Yeah, man. Okay, well, we’re still on this journey. I think it’s, I mean, it’s one of things I love about regeneration is that we don’t graduate and then help people. We traveled on a road. We we make some progress. And then we turn around and reach back for somebody who’s a few steps behind us and say, Hey, you know, can we give you a hand if we can be great. So, Dan, thanks for being in this with me and you who are listening. Thanks for being with us. You know, we’re in this together. There’s one Savior. We all need him. We’ll tune back in next week.

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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.

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