#$@&%*! you, I’m not trying anymore

So many of us try so hard, so often. Trying to get things right. Trying to get things done. Trying to make others happy. Trying to catch up, let go, be smart, be funny, have friends, lose weight, impress others. I’ve decided I’m not trying anymore.

Well, I guess I’ve decided that I’m going to try not to try anymore, because I’m not sure I’ll get it right on the first try. I’ve realized I’m pretty invested in trying to do my best (or better than my best, as Maria in The Sound of Music, suggests) and I’m not sure I can stop cold-turkey. But I’m certainly ready to try.

Which is why I’ve developed my new mantra, “#$@&%*! you, I’m not trying anymore.” I say it more to myself than others. The “#$@&%*! you” part is not even the important part. The important part is that I need, and want, to stop trying.

How do we stop? How do I stop? Is it simply a matter of noticing when I am, so that I can choose a different approach? I hope so, but I doubt it. Those patterns are deeply engrained in me, and I’m sure I’ll slip up at least once or twice. Or maybe thirty or forty times.

I realize that the part of me that has been trying so hard believes that it needs to try that hard. And that it needs to succeed. That part of me believes that it is helping me, in trying so hard. It is determined to get it all right and get it all done, so that everything works out fine. It doesn’t think it’s driving me into the ground with endless trying (although it sometimes is). It thinks it’s saving my life, rather than hindering it.

It may have been necessary for me to try so hard when I was young. It may have actually saved my life. Or it may not have. But it doesn’t work anymore. Now I need to take a break, sit on the couch, have a cup of tea, and give up, give in, and accept that whatever I do is enough. It’s, as Brené Brown suggests “waking up each morning and thinking, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” It’s being willing to curse, if necessary, and then to stop trying. To just breathe. And smile. And enjoy. And BE.

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