Sometimes it's hard to be a person.
That’s just how it is. When the news is especially heartbreaking--day after day, for months or years. If things are tense at home or falling apart at work. When health gets shaky or money is scarce. Sometimes it can feel like too much to take.
We want to be good adults--to feel strong and capable and on top of things. It sometimes seems like everyone else can do it so easily!
But they all have really bad days too. No one's ok all the time. Even those who look like they've got it all under control.
Big goals involving self-improvement, empowerment, and reaching our potential can be healing and important in so many ways. But there’s a shadow side as well. It’s easy to become almost addicted to self-improvement. To become compulsive about “bettering” ourselves.
We might even start to think that there’s such a thing as being “perfect.” Like it’s possible to be perpetually calm, serene, confident, healthy, and wise.
So on top of everything else, we start feeling anxious and depressed about our anxiety and depression. Angry at ourselves for losing our temper.
We want to feel like we’re doing a good job in life. Instead of falling short we want to be learning, developing, and succeeding. We want to create fulfilling and meaningful lives and be proud of ourselves and our accomplishments.
But how can we focus on any of that when we feel like we're just barely coping? When we feel really sad or depressed or overwhelmed? If we're having trouble maintaining our optimism, motivation, and faith?
It's important to remember that life is just hard sometimes.
It doesn't mean you're living it wrong.
No matter how hard we work at trying to be "perfect." No matter how self-aware or mindful we are. No matter how much we meditate, how much therapy or coaching we’ve done. No matter how many classes we take or how many books we read...We all feel overwhelmed or sad or anxious sometimes.
This is not weakness. It's not failure. It's just part of being human.
Beating up on yourself only makes it worse. Getting impatient with yourself, because you thought you’d already dealt with that shit, doesn’t help. Being angry with yourself because you fell short of your ideal isn’t kind, compassionate, or fair.
“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at. Compassion isn’t some kind of self-improvement project or ideal that we’re trying to live up to.”
- Pema Chodron
Ask yourself how you would treat a beloved friend who came to you in a similar moment of weakness, doubt, or fear. Would you say, “Oh my god, you’re such a mess! I can’t believe you’re so unevolved and weak!”
Of course not! What would you do? Would you hug your friend? Ask what you can do to help? I’m guessing you would. You’d let them know that you love them, and that you’re there for them.
I’m only asking that you do the same for yourself as you would for your best friend.
Please be kind and compassionate with yourself. You deserve it. If you’re ever feeling sad, depressed, or overwhelmed. If you’re ever having trouble maintaining your optimism or handling your life. Remember that this is not weakness. It's not failure. It’s just part of being human.✪
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