Well it’s been awhile since I last checked in with all you lovely readers! The summer has swept me away with her allure of sunset roof top cocktails, pool side sun bathing in Chicago and slip and slide shenanigans. July was incredibly fun and allowed a chance to reconnect with old and new friends alike, in recognition of how amazing summer can be when you live through a Midwest winter.
With all the fun and lack of normal routine, my summer shorts are tighter:(, resulting in an underlying guilt that despite my valiant efforts to life coach myself through, weighs on me throughout the day. Alongside of this guilt is the guilt of not feeling as though I’m doing enough to get my life coaching business set up before I make the leap from corporate America at the end of September. There are so many “shoulds” floating around in my head I need a mental flyswatter. To help myself through the “should attack,” I researched what next steps to take and ran across an article about how you “just need to leap,” before you’re ready and that your execution doesn’t have to be perfect. This is comforting, I’m ready to jump, then current day work gets busy again and I don’t even have “non-perfect” to share with the world.
Guilt is no stranger to most women and many men out there. It’s such a common experience, I believe it underlies the majority of our actions, closely linked to its inseparable sister fear. When we start to feel guilt our brain’s rationalization system settles in and tries to justify why it’s ok to do this certain thing right now…I only do it once and awhile, overall I’m a good person and tomorrow I will do so much better. These little white lies we tell ourselves thinly veil the guilt we know we will need to deal with later. They get us through the moment, but they don’t serve us well along the journey.
What we really need to give ourselves is patience and kindness. We are all human beings setting out to create the lives that best work for ourselves, in charge of continual trial and error to determine the facets that suit us. Even if we are 25 or 55, we have been on this earth for a relatively short time and still need to learn. Each of life’s situations offers us a chance to be curious and experiment with what works. We can learn from others, but unfortunately we can’t always employ what they do to find contentment, given our unique make up of previous experiences and genetics. I can’t have more than 2 cocktails and effectively use my brain the next day, yet some people can. I also can’t go to restaurants more than twice a week without gaining weight. Going to a restaurant is akin to being at a party in my brain, I lose my inhibitions and my shorts get more uncomfortable.
These insights are extremely helpful, yet sometimes I break my own rules and then the guilt seeps in again. At that time you need kindness. Kindness means you acknowledge that you know better, but that you are only human. You are no worse than anyone else and you are a work in progress. You do not need to chastise yourself to ensure better behavior next time, rather treat yourself as you would a child who is learning to read. When they mispronounce a word they should know, you do not tell them they are stupid and will never learn. Rather you encourage them to think through the syllables, read more and maybe pull out a dictionary phone app to hear the word spoken. You encourage them to use their resources and understand that they WILL eventually learn.
Taking these conscious steps toward patience and kindness enables you to re-program the voice I spoke about in the last blog. Ultimately you want to work toward completely quieting the voice through meditation; however during that journey you need to learn how to work with it in a more productive matter through reprogramming it daily.
What situation are you facing that you continue to beat yourself up about? My hope is that this week you find a way to practice patience and kindness to overcome the negative effects of guilt and create new grooves in your brain to live your best life.