We are often our own harshest critics. We berate ourselves for the same things we respond with compassion to in others. Instead of doing the best we can, we often “should” ourselves into shame and paralysis.
So for today, practice being as kind to yourself as you are to others.
For today, give yourself permission to…
Struggle even when your struggles seem to pale in comparison to those of others.
Sometimes we measure our traumas against those of others. And when they don’t even begin to compare to the magnitude of the horror that some of faced, we believe that we shouldn’t feel the way we do. That somehow we don’t have the right to struggle because our struggles are minor compared to those around us.
Yet one trauma doesn’t negate another. Experiences are measured not by how they compare to others, but by how they compare to what you have been through. You can have a hard time even if it seems minor. Your feelings are real and valid.
Feel okay even when things are falling apart around you.
I attended a tragic funeral recently. And like at all such gatherings, there were moments of shared laughter as people traded stories and memories. Brief periods of respite from the pain, rising through the sadness like bubbles to the surface.
And those moments are precious. It is okay to smile even when you have tears pouring from your eyes. It’s okay to set aside the grief for a period and enjoy life. There is no rule that states that grieving and living are mutually exclusive. You can do them both at once.
Secretly feel relieved even when you’re devastated.
There are times when our hearts and our brains are in opposition. When we know that a loss is needed, but yet we struggle to let go. This is the death after a protracted illness or the divorce after a long period of dysfunction. We grieve outwardly, while secretly also feeling relieved that it is over.
And that’s okay, to both miss something and also be at peace with it ending.
Feel sad just because.
There are days when you’re just not okay. There’s no reason, at least none that you can put your finger on. You’re just sad. Or withdrawn. Or anxious.
And those feelings, whatever they are, are allowed.
When we try to tell ourselves that we shouldn’t feel that way, we tend to only amplify the sensations. Instead, give those feelings permission to be and let them move through freely.
Not be at your best.
Maybe you’re the star employee at work. Or typically a Grade A parent. But not today. Today, you’re struggling to get it together. And then you make it worse by comparing your performance today to your high expectations of yesterday.
It’s okay to have days where you lower the benchmark. So maybe you didn’t prepare the normal healthy breakfast for your kids this morning and you had to rely on a fast food drive through. They still ate. And for today, that’s a success.
Not every day is going to be the best performance. As long as you still show up, you’re doing it right.
Ask for help.
When it comes to this life thing, we’re all in it together. There is no reason to try to do it all alone.
Asking for help is both the greatest gift we can give ourselves and the biggest sign of courage.
Give yourself permission to feel how you feel and to accept help when those feelings become too much to carry alone.