As the tears fell this morning and my heart ached, I tried to have self-compassion. I tried not to beat myself up. After all, isn’t that what all of the positive psychology stuff tells us? Don’t knock yourself down. Don’t beat yourself up. Practice self-love. Use affirmations. Shift your perspective. Reconnect to your goals. Visualize the life you want.
Some times I can’t just be positive
And this morning, I was just not there. Nor could I seem to get there. Even though I knew I should go there. Every time I tried to redirect my thoughts, I just couldn’t. So I decided to stay in disappointment for bit longer.
There are so many things to do to live your best life
You likely know this place as well as I do. This is the place where you are trying to live your best life using all of the things you have learned that you should do. Yet, when the world falls apart, your brain tells you one thing, except your heart seems know another. It’s like knowing technically how to hit the baseball, but feeling like a total geek standing there striking out because you are unable to make your body do what it is supposed to do.
Just believe everything happens for a reason
Have you ever applied on a job, wrote the perfect resume and spent countless hours on your cover letter? Then you find out that you didn’t get the job. My guess is rather than smiling and reminding yourself “there was a reason you didn’t get it”; you wanted to get mad at the world. When this happened to me I felt so overlooked.
Be consistent and stick to the routine – you’ll get it.
Perhaps like me, you also have been faithfully working out and eating healthy, yet the scale hasn’t even moved a tiny bit. That could be so infuriating. In these moments we are supposed to check in with our vision and simply tighten up our routine. Consistency and discipline are key. Right? But really, we just want to go indulge in something sweet and fattening and put on our comfy clothes.
It’s not a failure, just lessons learned
Maybe you’ve built something, or wrote, designed or created your pride and joy. Yet when you showed the world your masterpiece, like I did yesterday, yours flopped too. Oh I know, we aren’t supposed to say it flopped. We are supposed go back and figure out what parts worked. We are supposed to ask what lessons we can learn and what we need to do moving forward. Don’t gut stuck in what didn’t work. Right? But really, I want to scream about how unfair life is.
Despite all of the challenges we face, the world has told us to be compassionate to ourselves. Well, the positive psychology world, the rah rah friends, the Life Coaches and the meditation gurus have told us this anyhow. If you want to be your best self, you have to work hard to stay out of that place of self-loathing, shame and discouragement.
But the world judges us
The rest of the world however, you and I know, are out there with their arms folded judging and criticizing us. They are questioning us with disapproving eyes. We know they are criticizing us even if they are silent. We can feel it.
“Are you sure you did your best?” “Did you really give it your all?” “Could you have done more?”
- You know that cream in your coffee adds an extra 85 calories. Why did you drink it then?
- You didn’t triple check the grammar and your cover letter. You should have known there would be mistakes.
- If you only asked for help on that project instead of trying to be the superwoman and doing it all yourself, perhaps you would have been more successful.
Or maybe we judge ourselves too harshly
It doesn’t matter that much of your anguish is internal. It may as well be the in-crowd girls making those biting comments about your shoes as you walk down the junior high hallway. It’s still hurts like hell.
So what do you do?
Do you have self-compassion or do you dig into your grit?
Do you get back up, dust yourself off and enter the arena again as Brene Brown says?
What about both?
Before I get back up and face the evil ferocious beast that I must tame, could I lay here for a second longer get my breath back? Could I rest my legs and strategize my next move, while the beast gloats, thinking he’s won?
Can I do both?
Yes… and so should you too.
During times of challenge, we need to both face the facts as well as the possibilities. I need to see what resources are at my disposal and what’s possible with them. I need to acknowledge how hard I’ve worked and noticed how much more I can give when I connect to my purpose and my passion. I need to rest, renew and recharge knowing full well I haven’t given up, I’m just pacing myself.
Here is what I’ve learned, that may be helpful to you too.
Crying is good for my soul. It washes away the hurt, fear, frustration and disappointment. When I try to rush over that it just stains in them is much harder to get off.
I must feel pain
I need to confess to the disbelief. I even need to blame others and wallow in my self-pity for a while. Then, when I’ve spent that energy, I need to ask myself the hard questions. I need to ask, with compassion:
- What have I learned?
- How do I apply that learning now?
- What have I got left to work with?
- What next?
I need to figure out where I am going
Once again I need to look towards my dreams, my goals and my vision and get reconnected with that. I need to get gritty and dig back in.
More than anything, I need nurturing and guidance from someone who knows
In my times of challenge I need that wise old woman to say to me:
“Oh Honey! Come here and crying my shoulder. Let it all out. I’ve got you”.
I need to be able to cry unabashedly on her shoulder. When the sobs subside, I need her to wipe away a tear and ask me:
“What now my love? What is next? You’ve got a world to change, it’s time to get out there and change it.”
By: Kathy Archer
Leadership Development Coach
Kathy is a Leadership Development Coach who gives her clients hope and inspiration (and the kick in the pants to make positive change in their lives). She has an energy and enthusiasm for life that is contagious. Working with women leaders she gives them the confidence and courage to focus on the true priorities in both work and life.