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Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 792
Experience:  Specializing in relationship/family counseling
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This is another question that goes under both the "Relationship"

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This is another question that goes under both the "Relationship" and "Etiquette" categories. I'm in the process of applying for a study abroad, and the application is due Friday. I'm in the process of gathering everything. But, I need a French Proficiency report and a letter of recommendation. I haven't heard back from the people that I've asked yet. What should I do? I have sent them e-mails about two hours ago asking for a yes/no response. Due to this, I am really nervous and worried. I can't really concentrate on much.
Hi, I'm Alicia. Thanks for asking your question - I'm happy to help you today.

I can imagine how nerve-wracking this is for you - it's obviously more of a priority for you to have the report and the recommendation written than it is for the people writing them. You're the one with the deadline, so I would take a very proactive approach. Since the deadline that is approaching rather quickly (i.e. tomorrow), I would suggest that you call the person(s) directly who need to write these letters for you, rather than sending another email. With email, you don't know if the person has read it or if they are out of the office, etc. And if you call, then perhaps you can speak to someone who can provide you with further assistance (for example, if the person writing the letter is unavailable, perhaps his or her secretary can connect you with someone else who might be able to help.)

Good luck - I hope it works out!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Good news. I ended up getting the information that I needed in time. But, how can I stop mentally beating myself up for not starting sooner?

Hi again,

I'm glad to hear that you were able to get what you needed. I can imagine that's quite a relief.

In terms of beating yourself up about it, there's no easy solution, especially if this is a pattern that you engage in frequently (i.e. are you always this hard on yourself? Is this a pattern that's been going on your whole life? Can you identify the reason(s) why you do this? If it's something that you've been dealing with for a while, have you considered talking to a therapist about it to try to change some of the mental patterns and behaviors that lead to this defeatist behavior? And so forth. These are just some questions I'm posing for you to think about.) But the first step is to just cut yourself some slack. Everyone has trouble with procrastination sometimes, and it's especially common (even though it might seem counterproductive) during times when we really need to be on top of things. (There's another question to ask yourself - are you subconsciously, perhaps, trying to sabotage yourself or your chances for success? I'm not saying this is the case, but it's food for thought.) Realize that you did end up getting what you needed, and that's the most important thing. If you just feel like you keep ruminating over and over about this and can't stop, then you need to do something active to break the thought cycle - I don't know what that activity might be for you, but for most people it involves some sort of simple distraction like getting out of the house, going outdoors, watching something on TV, etc, just to stop the endless and negative thoughts. Try not to be so critical of yourself - and practice self-compassion. You probably wouldn't criticize a friend the way you criticize yourself if she/he was going through the same situation, right? And you're probably dealing with a lot of stress related to preparing for the study abroad program, etc - so just give yourself a break and try to relax. "Beating yourself up" about something like this is normal, and for most people, things like this pass in a few days of their own accord.

But if this is a life-long pattern for you, there's a great book I'd recommend called "Self- Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind" by Kristin Neff that some people with habitual problems of self-criticism and being too hard on themselves find useful.

Please let me know if you need additional assistance, and good luck with your plans.
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