Acknowledging Your Mean Ways

Bill Holmes
3 min readJul 6, 2022

A non-fiction response to a writing prompt.

Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

This story was inspired by a writing prompt published under Chelsea Marie’s The Storyteller’s Vault Poetry Writing Prompts Challenge.

Is it possible for a person to be mean to him- or herself?

That was the question I recently answered last week during a creative exercise found in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. The task asked the writer to list ten ways is engaging in this behavior. My list consisted of the following items:

1. I allow painful childhood memories from attending elementary school to haunt me in my adulthood.

2. I sometimes stand in my own way because I don’t feel I’m worthy of achieving success and prosperity in my life.

3. I procrastinate doing tasks I know should be completed but I lack the desire to undertake.

4. I emotionally and mentally punish myself for allowing depression and/or anxiety to rob me of having happiness from my late 30s to my early 40s.

5. I engage in negative thoughts like imaging worst-case scenarios that impact my self-esteem.

6. I don’t allow my body to get its necessary rest of seven to nine hours of sleep.

7. I think I’m sometimes too old to be pursuing new creative endeavors.

8. I don’t give myself enough credit for the strengths and assets I do possess.

9. I have difficulty forgiving others, including me.

10. I have poor, unhealthy eating habits when I’m in my creative mode.

Completing this introspective exercise was eye-opening for me to create this lineup but, most importantly, having the insight to acknowledge these items. Some people would be in denial of their existence.

Why bother dredging up these points? According to Cameron, “just as making the positive explicit helps allow it into our lives, making the negative explicit helps us to exorcise it.”

I must agree with the author on that one. As much as anyone can be their harshest critic, he or she has the potential to be their biggest advocate.

Having said that, I can bring grace into my life by acknowledging ten ways that I…

Bill Holmes

Writer. Poet. ESSENCE Best Selling Author. Filmmaker. Personal development aficiando who lives and breathes the mantra "I will not be denied!"