We spend most of our days apologizing for where we are in life. I should have a promotion soon. I should get a raise, a bigger house, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, more degrees, a golden, diamond emblazoned unicorn that somersaults over rainbows. While we are, in earnest, trying to accommodate our audience, rise to the standard of our peers, and inspire ourselves, we are also establishing over and over that our life, as it is, is simply not good enough. This makes us feel sad, anxious, and depressed.
While we draw on this motivation to do more, the more we do, the less we seem to feel good about ourselves. Our thoughts pour down on us, dampening our resolve to be happy with our lives. One of the toughest parts of accomplishing something is the awareness that there are other things to accomplish, and that others expect you to accomplish even more. One of my best friends used to extend my role in our conversations by adding “What else?” after I had just finished describing my current goals and efforts. It only took two words to crush my satisfaction.
A Recent Experience With The Apologies
Recently, I spent time with one of my brothers, who started our conversation by reassuring me that he was working hard to take care of himself and his family, as if there was an invisible hot lamp shining down on him. For a moment, I felt like an interrogator: a disturbing mixture of antagonism and judgment, despite actually being overcome with gratitude that he remained so vibrant and that our relationship remained strong.
I say this without judgment. I am guilty of the same things. Don’t worry I am still working on the book. I am not wealthy enough yet to take us on a vacation, but someday. So, rather than offer any advice, I listened with great interest, basking in his hard fought wisdom, qualities all his own, while silently repeating this phrase to myself: May this experience of sitting with my brother be enough (for both of us).
The Phrase That Pays (Us With Contentedness)
This phrase is my secret to loving who I am despite the pressure of social interactions and social media to pretend that it would be so much better if I had more or could go back to a time with fewer responsibilities. It is why I do not attend reunions. I do not want to pretend life would be better if I could return to my past.
I love being older. My life is filled with more wisdom, well-being, and inspiring relationships than I ever had as a child. I am not judging those who love reunions. Some who attend are amongst my favorite people on earth. My simple truth is that to love my life I must love where I am right now. It is my hope that armed with the simple phrase, May my experience be enough, that your heart will be open to the awareness that you are more than enough to yourself and those who love you.
365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 262. In The Books.