Finding Love And Happiness By Overcoming Our Need To Be Right

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Striving To Be Right

One of the most mind-boggling ideas out there is that other people value you based on how often you are right.  Being right makes people feel confident, and at ease in their relationships, while being wrong causes people to feel unsure and anxious.  It makes sense that we feel more comfortable in an ever-changing world, if we feel that we understand it.  Somewhere deep down inside we know that we cannot understand everything, so we opt for the next best thing: to know more than everyone else.  It’s ok to think it.  Yes, we desire to be know-it-alls. 

The Know-It-Alls and The Know-Nothings

But, despite how great being right feels, it blinds us from what the experience is like for the person, who is wrong.  They feel incompetent and helpless.  If we follow this logic, the know-it-alls, by their very nature, make others feel like know-nothings, and know-nothings feel bad about themselves, which makes them not want to hang around with the know-it-alls.  If a good life is judged by the company we keep, how do we judge the life of someone, who cannot keep any company at all?  My guess is that we find it to be a sad one.

Learning To Choose Relationships Over Rightness

If you learn nothing else from this blog, savor this invaluable piece of relationship insight: people will often feel about you the way you make them feel about themselves.  If you make them feel like losers all the time, they will feel sad, and they will identify you as a sad person.  If you make them feel like winners all the time, they will feel happy, and you will be recognized as a happy person.  Despite this seemingly impossible dichotomy, you really only need to make them feel appreciated, which requires just the occasional win.  So, do yourself the kindness of letting go of your need to be right all the time, instead making room for the love, compassion, and ease people will naturally feel in the presence of someone, who prioritizes these characteristics themselves.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 272.  In The Books.

If You Think Self-Compassionately, You Will Be Self-Compassionate.

Self-Compassion Blog.  If You Think Self-Compassionately, You Will Be Self-Compassionate

Misunderstanding Self-Compassion

Self-Compassion has long been misunderstood as an innate quality gifted only to the patient and penitent.  Hearing this word inspires images of Mother Teresa caring for impoverished orphans or Bishop Desmond Tutu offering forgiveness to human rights violators.  We think of the Dalai Lama hugging an innocent Northern Ireland man, who lost his sight after being hit by the ricochet of a rubber bullet meant for someone else. 

We think of these things, and maybe even verbalize a wish to be more like these folks, forsaking our own ability to think and act self-compassionately, and we move on.  But, these people, who have done so many good deeds that their legend seems to supersede their limitations as human beings, are still just people.  In examining an event that involved several Maoist soldiers beating up a young child, even the Dalai Lama said that he hopes that he would have been able to respond compassionately, but that he might for all of his good intentions responded aggressively had he been there.  The take home message is not that the Dalai Lama is part Chuck Norris, though he might be, but rather that self-compassion is not an inborn and passively maintained character trait.  Quite the opposite!  Self-Compassion is something we foster from doing.

The Burden Of Criticism

Why is this helpful to you?  Because all the self-criticism and criticism of others that you endure without compassion is exhausting, disorganizing, and displeasing you.  Think about it.  The more critical of yourself and others you become, the more critical thoughts become available to you.  The more available they are, the more we feel weighed down by them.  Sure, it sounds cool to say critical things about ourselves and others.  It gives people the sense that we are so tough that we do not care what the consequences of such actions are, but, in the end, other people do not pay for these thoughts and behaviors.  We do!

Finding More Self-Compassion By Thinking Self-Compassionately

I do not know about you, but I wake up every day with the same thought.  How can I get more and pay less?  With all of our responsibilities, we can ill afford to pay more.  I am not suggesting that you rid yourself of negative thoughts.  We come by these thoughts naturally, but we can choose what we do with them.  If you think about how life’s challenges have made your circumstances and the circumstances of others difficult, you will have greater access to self-compassion, which also means less criticism of yourself and others.  If you have not been paying attention, that means more energy and less stress for you! 

I am not suggesting that you give yourself or others a free pass to do things that cause pain, I am simply inquiring if finding remedies to those issues would not be made easier by better understanding them.  I, for one, believe that all people are capable of great compassion, but to be self-compassionate, you must think self-compassionately.  The next time you experience something that causes you pain, observe your wish to judge yourself and others, let it pass, and choose to remember how you and others come by your experience naturally.  Like a long road paved with bricks, this brick (a single act of self-compassion) will be one of many, yet its worth is infinite, as it gives you greater and easier access to self-compassion.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 271.  In The Books.

Three Quick Ways To Find More Ease By Abandoning The Behavior Police

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The Behavior Police

We love control, and absolutely loathe feeling helpless.  So, when people in this world start doing things that cause us distress, we police them.  We judge their behaviors, making sure to underline what they are doing wrong.  By pointing out their flaws, we assume that we have returned justice and order to the world.  We feel a little safer.  The experience of the person being policed could not be more different.  They often feel singled out, and shamed.  To be clear, we demand that wrongdoers allocate resources to change, while diminishing their resources through our actions.  This conclusion only leaves us to wonder, if our efforts to police people only make them feel bad and less able to change, why do we continue to police them?

Understanding Problematic Behaviors

We are lax to admit that most behaviors that upset us come from a person, who has persistent and painful life struggles.  Despite this knowledge, we ignore the hardships and focus on the missteps.  This, in turn, hurts the person we correct, which, if you did not already know, will make them less likely to change. 

Here is what we need to know to make better decisions in terms of responding to actions that negatively affect us.  Most people do not struggle to change because they do not want to.  They struggle because they lack the resources to do so.  It is a simple fact that the more stress you are exposed to the less likely you are to respond to reasonable situations in reasonable ways. 

Think of the difference in how you would speak to someone with whom you are having a misunderstanding after a nice breakfast, and how you might respond after your lover of 10 years abandons you.  The former experience would give you the resources to respond to this conflict with considerable ease, while the latter would leave you raw and exposed, causing you to likely respond more aggressively than you would like.  Most problematic behavior is a combination of poor role models, life stress, and a profound desire to survive.  Who can’t relate to that?

Three Quick Ways To Give Up The Behavior Police In Exchange For More Ease

To have more ease, we need to recognize three things.  First, most people come by their experience honestly, and are not trying to make our world more difficult through their actions.  Making it personal for them will only put them on the defensive.  They will feel less, not more, able to confront their problem behaviors.  Don’t make it personal.  We are all on this crazy journey together. 

Second, we are all vulnerable to making mistakes.  Resist judging others now to avoid judging yourself later.  Making room for this shared connection gives us enough room to step away from this isolated incident, and ground our fears about bad behavior being intentionally directed towards us.  Most people who offend you do not know you well enough to have made their bad behavior be about you.  See yourself in them, and let the tension go.   

Lastly, your hopes and dreams are too important to be sidelined even momentarily to police someone else’s behavior.  Do you really want to be distracted from your life’s work to yell at the guy, who cuts you in the grocery line or waits too long to go once the traffic light turns green?  As you might have guessed, the people who make mistakes have their own problems, and reminding ourselves that they are theirs to solve will surprisingly give us the ease we seek to solve our own problems.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 270.  In The Books.

Just A Spoonful of Sugar Makes The Medicine Go Down

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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.

The Self-Compassionate Model For Pursuing Fulfilling Relationships

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The Booby Traps Of Modern Dating

In modern dating, choosing romantic partners has become a lot like dancing.  People look for someone with alluring features and pleasing moves, until they move in ways that cause them discomfort.  And so, their journey goes on, finding one thing less to like about a potential partner.  Pretty soon, they amass a long list of dislikes, and a very short list of likes.  They use this knowledge to find a better fit, creating dating profiles highlighted by dislikes, with footnoted likes. The responses they get bore or infuriate them.  The former consist of people who mask their personality to avoid rejection, and the latter are comprised of those people who chose to ignore the dislikes.  Potential suitors are either turned off by the myriad demands or bypass the demands completely.  Neither person gets the happy ending they desire.

You cannot blame people for this approach.  The world tells you that you need two things from relationship partners: attraction and comfort.  So, people seek attractive people, who do not do anything to upset them.  To make matters worse, people grossly underestimate the work required for such a venture because Internet dating sites assure them that it should be easy. It seems illogical, but the truth is that the more you seek a relationship (which involves two people) based on your own desires and dreads, the less likely you are to be happy.  On this very topic, the famous 12th century poet Rumi said, “Two [people] are never satisfied – the lover of the world and the lover of knowledge.”  To be satisfied, you must first be a lover of relationships.

Changing those I’s to Our’s

To find a fulfilling relationship, you must stop asking what you need for yourself, and start asking what you need in a relationship.  Let me use the analogy of a car and a winter environment.  The thoughtful car spent days accruing characteristics that would make it comfortable and attractive.  It chose a brilliant black finish, soft leather upholstered chairs, and a stereo that would quiet the angels.  The environment noticed the car, and also found it spectacularly attractive.  One day, a storm arose.  The car blew from the left side of the street to the right.  It travelled maladroitly over snow-encumbered patches, finally losing traction on a patch of ice.  It slid nose down into a ditch. 

On its own, the car was majestic, but when added to the environment, it was a machine destined for disaster without all wheel drive and a great braking system.  There is nothing alluring about a car’s drive or brakes, but there is nothing more important when combined with the environment.  To find a fulfilling relationship, we need to think about shared qualities that lead to meaningful and supportive interactions.

The Self-Compassionate Model For Pursuing Fulfilling Relationships

The self-compassionate model offers the following pointers, when it comes to pursuing a new relationship.  First, think about things that you would like to share with someone that would set you both at ease, and leave each of you feeling understood and inspired.  Second, come up with three values that incorporate these things.  Third, add two values to that list that you would need to share with someone to endure tough times.  Lastly, pursue relationships with the intention of trusting and trying to enjoy (or at least endure) the process.  Do not be overly focused on the outcome.  It is out of your control; what some would call a fool’s errand.  Instead, commit this energy to being a little more compassionate to yourself and the people you meet.  If pursuing relationships is like choosing dance partners, then it makes even more sense to grant them patience.  It is never how long it takes you to find the dance partner that counts.  It is the quality of the dance that you remember. 

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 267.  In The Books.

The Self-Compassionate Way To Overcome D-anger (Destructive Anger)

The Self-Compassionate Way To Overcome D-Anger (Destructive Anger)

The Perils of Business

A while back, I had a conversation with a childhood friend about the perils of business, and wanting to serve the interests of others, while protecting my own.  “I don’t have those problems,” she boasted.  “I simply run over the people, who get in my way.”  The funny thing is that she really is a lovely person.  She just has a “take no crap” attitude.  I could not help but wonder how my life would be different, if I took issue with every person, who wronged me in some way.  Not wanting to offend her, I inquired as neutrally as possible, “How does it affect your time?” 


Her answer stunned me.  She said that it occupied much of her time.  It is also costly.  She has as many as three massage appointments a week to undo related muscle tension.  “It’s the price of doing business,” she quipped.  As her final words settled into my brain, I had an epiphany.  A person with a life path full of knots, much like a pretzel, will only be able to venture out so far before circling home to attend to their wounds.  There is something very dangerous about anger that leads to confrontation or destruction.  It becomes the focal point of one’s life.  The rest of our time is spent trying to cure the pain it causes; a sharp reminder that d-anger is one part destruction, and one part anger.

Confrontation Or Rejection

There are two common responses to frustration and anger: confrontation or rejection. People, who always confront others are consumed by it, and, in time, it defines them.  Perhaps, people respect them, but they also avoid them.  If you walk quietly and carry a big stick, people might not see you coming, but they will also associate you with the stick.  People, who reject or release their frustration or anger immediately appear to be very calm people, but are secretly very angry, and easily triggered by the anger of others.  It is actually impossible to reject or immediately release a feeling that comes up naturally.  It’s an evolutionary mechanism that exists to warn us about a pattern of danger and neglect.  Those choosing to ignore this emotion in the past likely suffered several times before finally encountering an unhappy ending.  Hence, the reason that anger comes up naturally, and avoiding it does not.


It is clear that neither confrontation nor rejection is a solution to the stresses that come with anger or frustration.  So, we turn to a third possibility: Self-Compassion.  Self-Compassion has five essential steps leading you from identification of what causes you discomfort to compassionate understanding, and finally to compassionate action. 

If you skip these steps, and generalize the term to mean, “being nice to myself,” your actions will, at best, provide a temporary escape from discomfort, and will guarantee at least as much trouble with these particular feelings the next time they come up.  Simplifying self-compassion to “being nice” would be akin to describing your duties as a jet pilot by stating that you “go up in the air.”  It gives people a sense of the outcome without the means to get there.  I want you all to have the opportunity to have real self-compassion.  It takes some effort, but it also leads to happiness.  Before you begin these steps, decide to commit to them with the knowledge that you spend so much time on actions that promise happiness without ever delivering, and that these steps both promise and deliver. 

First, notice the bodily sensations that are coming up with this feeling.  Where in your body are you feeling the most tense?  Now, you are in the present moment with the ability to act on your experience in an empowering way. Second, name the feeling.  This focuses our mind on the challenge at hand, and allows us to witness the hurricane of co-occurring thoughts without getting lost in them. Third, ask yourself if you can make space for this feeling.  By avoiding our thoughts, we give them great power.  Permitting ourselves to be present to these thoughts makes them less scary, and gives us courage. 

Fourth, notice how you come by this experience unintentionally like so many other people.  This step reminds you that you are never alone with your problems, and lets you gather energy from this combined effort and self-support (a great replacement for self-criticism).  Finally, you need to ask yourself how you can be kind to yourself.  This is essentially an inquiry into how you can manage the emotion in a way that helps you feel empowered and at ease now and in the future.  This whole process will take you about five minutes.  This is less time than a single commercial break, and this can change your whole life.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 266.  In The Books.

Your Life’s Too Complicated. Let’s Simplify It With The Plateau-Flow Method!

Self-Compassion Blog.  Your LIfe's Too Complicated.  Let's Simplify It With The Plateau-Flow Method!

Defying Flow

I used to run with great effort, foisting myself forward with each step, and when my gait slowed, I would sprint to quicken my pace.  I was rewarded for these efforts with shin splints, Achilles strains, and plantar fasciitis.  Running and the feedback it gives your body are simple processes, and I chose to defy these communications with a fiery will, and unnecessary, complicated movements.  Life is like this for all of us.  We have values and set goals, and when the flow of life resists our plans, and gives us feedback, we resist its rhythm, determined to control it with our complex tricks and action plans.  Like any good card player, life calls our bet and raises the stakes with even greater obstacles.  Eventually, we feel overwhelmed and quit.

Trusting Flow

What if I told you that you could avoid this disempowering pattern by simply learning to trust life’s feedback?  Obstacles emerge because there is something relevant for you to learn about your personal life or work.  To meet these needs, you must slow down and address them even if they are not obvious steps towards your defined goals.  Having an interesting and evolving life requires something that most of us forget: the unknowable.  Let this sink in.  IF LIFE WERE PREDICTABLE, THEN YOU WOULD NEVER LEARN ANYTHING NEW.   Give yourself permission to observe, adjust to, and respond to things that do not instantly make sense, they just might better your life or save another’s.  Of all of the interventions I have ever used with patients, perhaps the most successful involved me making fun of myself for several hours in the middle of the night to maintain the attention of a suicidal patient at a residential facility.  Spoiler alert: she lived.  Nobody would want a moment like that, and it sure did not seem to fit my goals at the time, but my life and hers are unfathomably better for it.

The Plateau-Flow Model

It would be a terrible crime to speak at length about lessening your life complications without providing you with a model to use.  Fear not!  I have one.  It’s called the plateau-flow method, and it works as follows.  Set goals which reflect your values, and work towards a plateau (i.e., accomplishing an important goal).  When obstacles encumber your work, trust the flow, and address these obstacles with the understanding that they serve a necessary part of your journey.  When you eventually peak, switch to recovery mode, trusting that the flow of life will lead you where you need to go.

In this way, you will live an inspired and evolving, but much simpler life than before.  You will avoid unnecessary injury or illness – both emotional and physical – by trusting the feedback and challenges life gives you.  As an added bonus, the self-compassion and acceptance you show life’s obstacles will help you better understand your own life and the lives of others, which will translate in to more success and happier relationships. Much like my newfound, injury-less running, you may find that listening to life instead of dictating its terms will allow you the freedom to appreciate it, and feel at ease.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 265.  In The Books.

No More Stress, Only Compassion!

Self-Compassion Blog.  No More Stress, Only Compassion.

A Great Epiphany

No more stress, only compassion is a mantra one of my patients adopted because he was tired of feeling stressed about everything.  It was a great epiphany.  How many of us stress about something potentially important only to find ourselves, moments later, stressing about unimportant stuff?  You may be really upset that there are never enough blue m&m’s, but does it have to hijack your well-being for the day?  It’s not just the m&m’s.  It’s the audacity of the guy in front of you to paint his car pink, or his aged female passenger who bedazzled her phone.  You bite your lip at the person, who dares to walk diagonally rather than horizontally across the street, finally losing it when the cashier licks her finger as she counts each bill of your change.  I agree that the last example is not hygienic, but probably no worse than where that money has already been.

You Got To Care About The Right Stuff

It’s important to care, but as my old boxing coach, Tommy Connors says, “You got to care about the right stuff.” He wanted me to focus on training exercises that directly translated to ring performance, but it is great advice for our daily lives.  You only have so much energy and focus.  If it is used up on events that are not directly related to increasing the quality of your life or the quality of other’s lives, then it is time wasted.  Or in Tommy’s words, “See how well that fancy stuff helps you, while the other guys is clobbering you.”

The Mantra

The mantra is both a great mindfulness and self-compassion technique because a. it brings you back to the present, and b. it reminds you that a life worth living comes from values steeped in self-compassion.  If you are thinking self-compassionately, you will zero in on the values that help you and others live good lives.  This, in turn, will help you let go of the need to attend to unnecessary distractions.  Sometimes, it’s good to be selfish.  No more stress, only compassion.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 264.  In The Books.

What Happens Next? : The Thought We Cannot Live Without.

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What Happens Next?

What happens next? is the one thought we cannot live without.  Our minds are constantly abuzz with this question, and savvy people all over the world cash in by writing and reporting half-finished stories. Like the all-but-forgotten Arabian Nights, television shows and films, alike, have become a series of to be continueds.  What happens to the main characters?  Do they live happily ever after?  Are they divorced within a year?  Did they actually die or are they simply wounded just enough to cause us doubt, but not enough to escape the sequel?  What is happening with politics, with sports, with celebrity drama?  How will it end?  What will people say?  Do these wives know about their cheating husbands?  Do these husbands know about their cheating wives?  How much money do these people really make?

Binge Attention

The result is binge attention.  We spend thousands of seconds, minutes, and hours focused on the lives and stories of others, manipulated by the ever present cliff hangers, clinging to any hope of resolution like a Charlie and The Chocolate factory character wishing, wanting, nearly pleading for one single golden ticket (ie: a resolution to these stories).  Part of this drive has to do with a desire to avoid the conflicts or obstacles in our own lives, but our fundamental propensity for curious investigation is equally involved.

If things were not innately difficult enough, we now have more access to celebrities, athletes, politicians, and television shows than we have ever had.  For years, we have been clamoring to know the unknowable.  These prized figures of sports and entertainment, whose true identity has eluded us for so long.  Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube all claim to have the answers to our quandaries, and like famished babies, we simply cannot get enough, filling our brains to the brim with scandal, secrets, spoiled endings, and emerging storylines.

An Unexpected U-Turn

Ironically, we find ourselves on an unexpected U-Turn.  This adventure outwards leads us inwards with fears that others are judging our lives in similar fashion, restricting the freedom with which we might have otherwise lived.  As a result, we spend far too much time wondering whether we need scandal or blandness to add value to our experience. As our work and relationships suffer from inattention, we think about how we might make changes in either domain, finding quizzically that the only answers we seem to possess come from an amalgamation of the stories and people on which we have been binging. 

As you can imagine, these inclinations fail us, but perhaps not for the reasons you would guess.  You see, work and relationships are about connection – what happens between two people – and mainstream media highlights the individual.  Of this you can be sure, not one action you take, no place you travel, nor extraordinary selfie that you craft will somehow transform from individual effort into relational success.  Thus, our efforts to mind social media leave us with few answers about how to live a relationally meaningful life.

The Parachute

We need a way out, a parachute if you will, and I have good news.  You do not have to change your underlying drives.  You simply need to accept them, and decide if they are serving your goals at that very moment.  You will have a tough choice between intrigue and happiness, but a wise man once said it is not what you love, but how you love that counts.  To truly love yourself, you must love others, and if by extension you love all people, then your mind will shift to the What Happens Next question that is truly important: how to live in a way that gives positive meaning to your life and the lives of the people you love.  Most people have this epiphany in life. It just tends to come after near death experiences, trauma, or terminal illness.  We can all think of a handful of people, who lived an inspiring life, when time starts running out.  There is literally a song about it called, Live Like You Are Dying by Tim McGraw.

Do not wait.  Grab your life by the horns, and kiss it right on the mouth.  Share with this world that which makes you unique, and also the common struggles and hopes that bind you to all people.  Solve this age-old problem with one simple phrase you can say to yourself: I’m sorry to have neglected you, your wishes for yourself and the world need attending, and I am here now to do what I can to address both.  Do small things.  Big things never really get done, unless you count the number of small things that lead to big things.  You decide what happens next for you, and see if even the most minimal effort does not help you feel a little lighter, a little more powerful, and a lot more content.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 263.  In The Books.

Loving Who You Are, And The Apologies That Stand In Your Way.

Self-Compassion Blog.  Loving Who You Are, And The Apologies That Stand In Your Way.

The Apologies

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.