A Spoonful Of Sugar
Like most kids, I hated medicine growing up, and my mother would always remind me of Mary Poppin’s famous phrase, “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” Years later, I realize that it was my mother’s kindness that functioned as the sugar, when I needed to muster up the fortitude to gulp down a gross heaping of some purple or green colored syrup.
The Problem With Complaining
As adults, we have responsibilities that can be difficult, replete with unappetizing choices and actions. Our tendency is to complain about these things in a way that only makes them harder to complete. We go on longwinded monologues that make these choices out to be greater and greater catastrophies. Then, we do something really odd. We try to harden ourselves or toughen up, sometimes literally grimacing, as we force ourselves to complete the necessary actions. A well-known fact is that actions you reward will be easy to repeat and those that you punish will be harder. So, why do we punish ourselves for completing a difficult action, when it will only make it harder to do in the future?
A Solution For Completing Life’s Undesirable Tasks
There are many ways I can answer this question, but because you are probably in a hurry, let’s look at a solution instead. When you come across something distasteful that you must do to have a good life, rather than focus on how much you dislike it or the pain it causes you, instead focus on why you are doing it, and frame it as something that is beneficial to your well-being. Additionally, use your self-talk to say nice, affirming things during and after the process. This will do two things for you. First, being kind will give you the necessary resources to complete the action. Second, rewarding yourself will make it easier to do in the future, and you might even feel good about it.
Living An Inspiring, Meaningful Life of Ease
Next time you are faced with an annoying or even repugnant responsibility that is necessary for you to have a good life, use a spoonful of sugar. It makes the medicine go down. If you are worried about not being tough enough, fear not, life will give you more than enough challenges, and you can grimace and flex your way to the finish line if you so desire. But, it might be helpful to know, you do not get extra points for punishing yourself, just a harder life, with less energy for building meaningful relationships, accomplishing goals, and living a life that inspires and sets you at ease.
365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 268. In The Books.