- Life is difficult
- We are not perfect
Let’s start with the first truth: Life is difficult. Things will go wrong. We will feel difficult emotions (sad, lonely, grief, fear, anger). That doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong. Rather, that’s what life is about.
I went through the first 30+ years of my life thinking life should be a certain way and that if I was upset or felt difficult emotions something had gone wrong. This set me up for even more hardship because when something was difficult or challenging, I thought I was to blame. This led to me trying to figure out what I had done to cause X and what I could’ve done to prevent it.
Well guess what Susie Q? Difficult things do happen and we have difficult feelings to feel. When I set the expectation that I should be dancing around smiling all the time, I put a lot of pressure on myself for those times when I wanted to curl up and cry. Once I accepted that life is difficult, I empowered myself to experience all of life. And boy was I surprised to discover that in opening up to experience all of it (the good, the bad and the ugly), I actually feel better than ever before in my life. Instead of finding ways to ignore or push away the difficult times, I learned tools to work through them. That was much easier than over-scheduling, over-eating, or over-exercising. What do you do to avoid or distract yourself from the difficult emotions or times in your life?
But wait, before answering that, let’s get to truth number two: We aren’t perfect. If we look at what we do to avoid our difficult times while holding onto the truth that we aren’t perfect, we learn about ourself from a place of kindness not criticism. Yes we make mistakes but hey, we’re supposed to.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a good portion of your life criticizing yourself for your actions + decisions. Berating yourself by saying things like:
Why did you eat all of that?
Why are you so lazy?
Why did you say something so stupid?
How has asking questions like that worked for you? It has been my experience that when I chose to look at the mistakes I make from a place of kindness, I learn + can make changes. (Asking instead: I wonder what was going on and why I overate last night? I wonder why I chose not to exercise yesterday? I wonder why I said that?)
Life is difficult. We make mistakes.
We will fall down and we will have hard days. What matters is how we get up and how we get through. Now I’ll let you answer that question:
What do you do to avoid or distract yourself from the difficult emotions or times in your life?
Once you’ve answered, choose kindness instead of criticism and ask yourself this question: How interesting. I wonder why I do that….?