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The Pugs of Procrastination: Pokey Feet Massage

Jack gives Becky a pokey feet massage, while Ella instructs.

The Pugs of Procrastination strike again! My pugs, Jack and Ella, are my writing companions. Admittedly, their adorable, furry faces are also my excuse for not meeting my quotas. At any time, I can be found snuggling, napping or wandering around the yard with the pugs instead of wooorking!

Once again, this message is brought to you by my tendency for writer’s block and The Pugs of Procrastination. The message? When what’s supposed to be good for you, isn’t…or at least, doesn’t feel so good. For instance:

  • Lima beans
  • Dental procedures
  • Gynecological appointments
  • Medicine
  • Criticism

Constructive criticism should feel like a really good massage. I’m not talking about a fluff ‘n buff either. It should give you just the right amount of ooooo, yeah. Right there, with a little bit of AAAAaaaaahhhh, *deep breathing.* That kind of criticism will get you the sort of change you need, set you in the right direction, put you on the path toward achieving all your heart desires.

On the other hand, plain old, run-of-the-mill criticism feels more like the pokey feet massage my pugs give me on occasion. They stand on my chest with all of their 20-plus pounds bearing down on their little, round feet, crushing my ribcage, bruising my delicate skin. Non-constructive criticism makes you shout, OW! Git-offa-me-with-ur-pokey-feet!

Which brings me to a point. Sometimes the people we’ve trusted most, the people we’ve counted on to be in our cheering section, who’ve given us constructive criticism in the past, accidentally stand on our chest with their pokey feet. We don’t expect it. It blindsides us, leaving us to ask, Why? But the reasons why are not as important as loving them enough to let them know when they’ve hurt you. Yeah, really. I’m not kidding.

Think about it. How loving is it of you to never say anything, storing up the hurt over the years, until one day….WHAMO! You let ‘em have it. Umm, hmm. Not so much. A kinder, gentler way of loving those who love you is to say, right away, Hey! Pokey feet massage!

Aaahhh, but what if the person giving you the pokey feet massage is yourself? Have you listened to your self talk lately? I mean, really listened? Try this three-step challenge:

  1. Carry a small pad of paper and a pen with you (or talk into the notes part of your phone using the microphone button on your SmartKeyboard)
  2. Make a vow – For one day, I will record everything the voice inside my head says.
  3. Now, do it, starting the second your eyes open in the morning until you lay down to sleep at night.

Guess what you’ll find? Not only are you, your own worst critic, but also you criticize everyone and everything around you! You say some terrible things to yourself throughout the day, especially first thing in the morning. Is it any wonder you have rotten days when nothing goes right? You’ve got a voice whispering cruddy things in your ear at every turn!

So, before you go telling people you love just how much they’ve hurt you with their pokey feet massage, check yourself at the door. Maybe they’re just confirming what you’ve already been saying about yourself, your work, your dreams. And if that’s the case, the most loving thing you can do, is love yourself first. Start asking who that inner voice really sounds like. Then tell it, thanks for sharing and decide to turn down the volume.

If you’d rather let Jack, Ella, or anyone else, give you pokey feet massages, be my guest. I’m ready to go somewhere. I’ve decided…I love myself and the people in my life so much, I must write…and encourage constructive criticism…even from myself.

Did you take the challenge? The pugs want to know! Share your self-talk discoveries or tendencies for procrastination with me! I’ll pass them on to Jack and Ella. We love hearing from readers and who knows? Your story might end up in a future article! **giving you credit, of course**

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5 responses »

  1. Great point. I remember how my mentor/instructor at the Institute of Children’s Literature, Chris Eboch, made suggestions about my writing that sent me flying to my computer to try to be better! On the other hand, a Chicago agent once ripped me into shreds in a public critique that nearly made me give up writing forever and ever amen! That’s the difference, isn’t it?

    Reply
    • Right? It does make all the difference! I’ll take constructive, solution focused criticism any day. That’s what makes me a better person not a bitter one.

      Reply
  2. This may be the best thing I’ve ever read. 🙂 No more Pokey-Feet-Massages for me – self inflicted or otherwise!!! 🙂

    Reply
  3. I’m a pro at pokey feet massage. There is a correlation between criticizing ourselves and criticizing things around us. Lately, I’ve been in that mindset and noticed that I’ve become mean. I’m trying really hard to change that and the first thing I put into practice was to reduce the amount of self-criticism. Immediately, I stopped judging others too. Your message needs to spread.

    Reply

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