I’m catching myself again. Trying too hard. Thinking too much. Judging myself too freely and harshly. Ah well.

I guess I thought – or at least I hoped – that when I “stopped” these behaviors, I’d have stopped them for good. Ah well one more time. Old habits can die hard I guess.

But at least I have the awareness, perhaps more quickly this time. At least I’ve noticed that I’ve slipped down that slippery slope. At least it hasn’t been years and years of unnecessarily beating myself up and holding myself to silly standards before I realized I was doing it again. For that I bask in appreciation. For that I give myself a gold star.

I like gold stars. Maybe I should give them to myself more often. Maybe I should immediately head out to Staples and buy myself gold stars (and other fun stickers) and start a sticker chart. Maybe I should award myself for behavior and attitude changes that move me into more joy. Maybe that will reinforce the “new” me and help me stop more fully the habits that no longer serve me.

As I share often with clients, when they complain of their internal voice that berates them or judges what they do, I believe our old voices – I call mine “my editor” because she used to comment on nearly everything I said or did – think they’re there to take care of us. They want to protect us. They don’t realize that they’re not helping. They don’t realize they’re causing more harm than good.

I think the same is true for these old behaviors. I learned a long, long time ago that these behaviors kept me safe. That they made life better and guarded me from evil and sadness and failure. I know now that this is not true.

I know now that trying too hard is too hard. It’s not helpful. That judging myself is worthless at best and wounding at worst. It definitely ruins my day.

So, for now, I’m stopping for good again – at least for today. I’ll remember my favorite phrase, “Oops,” and most likely use it over and over and over as I learn, one more time, to be gentle and choose ease and joy. I’ll catch myself trying and judging and thinking, and turn those thoughts around to ones that soothe me and bring a smile to my face. And maybe to others as well. I’ll love – myself and any and everyone around me – and live and laugh.

I’ll build this new habit to live hard, as well as die hard.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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