Monthly Archives: September 2017

Lower the bar

I can be a human doing, not a human being. I can strive and push and aim for beyond everything. I can try too hard.

And I can not.

I am lowering my bar, dropping my standards, and letting up on my striving. Again. And again and again and again. It’s an ongoing learning process.

I’m sitting – and doing nothing but sitting and enjoying the breeze and the hanging flowers on my side porch – more and more often. And I’m okay with that.

I’m not getting everything done that I’m supposed to get done. I’m making less dinners (just ask my family) and taking more breaks. I’m pausing to stop and smell the roses more and more often. And I’m okay with that.

I don’t know where the overachiever gene came from. I don’t know when I learned that enough was never enough. I don’t know how I got so good at giving everything more than my all, no matter what. I don’t know and I don’t care. It doesn’t really matter.

What I do know is that each day I’m getting better at not always overachieving, letting enough be enough, and giving everything only my all (or maybe even a bit less than that). And I’m okay with that.

I often share with others a life saving thought that someone shared with me decades ago. “If you feel guilty doing something,” they said, “then it’s probably a good thing for you to do.” For those of us with over-responsive responsibility genes, guilt can kick in when we do something for ourselves. “You’re so selfish,” we self-chide. I’ve learned to feel my guilt and let it go, and do that “selfish” thing anyway.

Life is good at a slower, calmer pace. Beauty is all around me, if I take the time to notice it and let it in. I always have the choice to lower my bar – for myself and for others – and let what is be sufficient. What is is what is. And nothing I can do can change what is right now. I’m learning to let that be okay and to stop trying to push things to be as I know they need to be. Or as I think you think I need to make them be.

I’m lowering my bar, dropping my standards, and letting up on my striving. Again and again and again. And that’s okay.

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

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Stop talking so you (I) can listen

I think many, if not all, of us have a propensity to need to explain ourselves. I know I do.

I have a quest to be heard. To be understood. To be gotten. And this can cause me to talk and talk and talk. To make sure you grasp my situation and my feelings. That you see my point of view.

I’m learning to stop talking so much, so that I can listen. I want to listen to you, to hear your story, to know your truth. I want to listen to others, to be open to their paths and their knowledge.

I’m learning to sit and hear my surroundings. To witness the birdsongs and the breeze blowing. To pay attention. To be more aware.

I’m walking up the street in quiet and allowing myself to be part of my surroundings. I’m not on my phone. I don’t have ear buds in my ears. I hear my footsteps, the laughter of children in the preschool playground, neighbors saying “hello” as I pass by.

I’m quieting the ceaseless chatter in my mind. Well, I’m trying to quiet the ceaseless chatter in my mind. I’m sitting in quiet meditation more often, listening to the world around me and the world within me.

I want to recognize that your truth is at least as true as my truth, and at least as important for me to know. I want to hear your truth. I want to hear my truth of silence and peace. Of calm and overwhelming love.

I believe these truths are there for my hearing, if I will only stop and listen. I believe I have my answers, if I will only be quiet long enough to let myself hear them. I believe the wrongs of the world can be righted if we only stop and listen to each other.

I need to stop talking so that I can listen. I need to stop speaking so that I can hear. I need to stop trying to figure it all out so that I can just be. I need to stop fighting to stay safe so that I can realize I am safe.

The endless chatter in my mind – and in relationships – isn’t necessary, and it isn’t helping me anymore. I may have thought this unending blathering made everything make more sense, but I was wrong.

I’m stopping talking so that I can listen. At least I’m trying to.

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

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I am feeling vulnerable. That is okay.

I reread Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. Once again, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

What jumped out at me this time? Brené offers this self-soothing for the times when we are afraid. “I am feeling vulnerable. That is okay. I am thankful for….”

I’ve been using that, over and over, in my times of fear. (Often irrational fear.) I know that I can be overcome with fear. I know that many of my fears are completely irrational. And I know that it makes complete sense that I have some – if not all – of my fears.

But I don’t have to live my life ruled – or restrained – by my fears. I told a client the other day that I’ve learned to admit to others, and to ask for help, when I’m overcome with irrational fears. When my kids are twenty minutes late, I know it’s irrational to be afraid that something awful has happened, and I know it’s where I’ll go left to my own devices. So I nearly always turn to my husband and say, “I’m afraid, and I know it’s irrational, but I’m afraid.” That always eases my fear.

As does Brené’s self-soothing. I place my hand on my heart and say (sometimes out loud), “I am afraid. I feel vulnerable. That’s okay. I’m thankful for…” and I’m overwhelmed with the number of people and things I have to be thankful for.

I think somewhere along the way we somehow learned that we’re never supposed to be afraid, while we also learned how many rational and irrational reasons there are to be afraid. When we can let our vulnerability and fear be okay, it lessens, and it lessens its ability to rule or ruin us. When I pause and breathe and self-soothe and bring to mind even one of the many blessings in my life, my fear decreases and sometimes subsides.

It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to not feel strong or equipped. We’re usually a lot less vulnerable than we feel or think we are, and a lot stronger than we feel or think we are. But it’s okay to have fears and challenges and difficult times. And it’s okay to not have your life be defined by them.

I feel a bit vulnerable for putting this out there. I feel a bit vulnerable when I open my heart and soul in this blog. I feel a bit vulnerable when I let people in and love people deeply. And that’s okay. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay.

I am thankful for so much.

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

Categories: Resilience, , , Tags: