Too Hard or Not Hard Enough? An Internal Struggle

The Wife and I broke down and finally bought seasons 2.5 and part of season 3 of Battlestar Galactica from the iTunes store this past week. This morning we were watching the first episode of season 3, “Occupation/Precipice” (they’re sold as one episode) when a few things said caught my ear.

I’m in the process now of evaluating a number of things about my life. If, in fact, Socrates was right when he stated that “a life left unexamined is a life not worth living,” then I suppose now is one of those times I’m making sure this life has been as continues to be worth living. The following BSG scene hit on a few important points for me:

Adama: It’s a hard thing to say, but it’s seems like don’t know my son any more. Same goes with the crew, the ship… I feel pretty much alone. Except maybe for you.

Boomer: *slight laugh* I wish I could come back a year and tell the other Admiral Adama about this conversation.

Adama: A year’s a long time.

Boomer: Can I ask you something… very personal?

Adama: [Silently looks at Boomer]

Boomer: Do you feel guilty about leaving the people behind on New Caprica?

Adama: [After a pause] I don’t do guilt.

You know, a year ago, when you put me in this cell, I was at a crossroads. I sat in here for weeks just consumed with rage at all the things that had happened to me. And at some point I realized it was just guilt. I was angry at some of the choices I’d made.

Betraying my people, losing the baby…

So, I had a choice: I could either move forward or stay in the past. But the only way to move forward was to forgive myself.

I don’t think we can survive– I don’t think the fleet, Galactica, or the people on New Caprica can survive unless the man at the top finds a way to forgive himself.

Adama: [Thinking. Looks at Boomer. Pours himself and Boomer some tea. Or coffee.]

When the student is ready…

Last night, before watching the episodes, I asked The Wife to tell me what she thought my biggest weakness was. She said I tended to be too hard on myself.

While I’d never really thought about that, I immediately agreed. I, like many people, have a natural tendency — one I’ve been fighting — towards replaying the worst moments of our lives over and over, as if looking at a picture book with all of the worst pictures we’ve taken. We beat ourselves up and then expect to miraculously be able to uplift others and be positive, constructive people. While we may look for constructive criticism from others, often times we’re harder than anyone on ourselves. What’s worse is that we then try to justify it by judging ourselves by our intentions while others have no other choice but to judge us by our actions.

The fact that she me doing that wasn’t what really got to me. It was that she wasn’t the first to ever point this out. It was the fact that I already knew I did that… and I was doing it again.

… the teacher shows up.

As a side note, here’s a little (insignificant) spoiler for those of you who haven seen season 3: Major Lee Adama, the son of the Admiral who some of us hate due only to his outrageously good looks, becomes a fatty — gut, double chin… the works. At one point Admiral Adama calls him out on it, telling him, after Lee’s been whining that his pilots are working too hard, to “Get your fat ass out of here.” As a fatty, this moment kind of hurts. As a fatty who’s slimming down to non-fatty, this moment is… priceless.

What I find interesting in this scene, aside from its obvious comedic value, is how the Admiral calls out his son out for being too weak on himself, mentally and physically. Contrast that with the quote at the beginning of this post and you see where some of my internal struggles lie.

One thought on “Too Hard or Not Hard Enough? An Internal Struggle

  1. I like to think of it as a balancing act. On one side, we risk being “too weak,” letting ourselves go, laziness etc. On the other side, we risk expecting SO much from ourselves that we continually beat ourselves up if we don’t meet our own expectations. We have to continually play the balancing act and stay mid-way.

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