The Compassion of "Usually"
“LIFE IS NOT ORDERLY.
No matter how we try to make life so,
right in the middle of it we die,
lose a leg,
fall in love,
drop a jar of applesauce.”
― Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life
There are times when we are prepared. Then, there are times when we are not. Some things you can't prepare for.
You die, lose a leg, fall in love, drop the applesauce. It's hard to prepare for these things.
Life is not always orderly, and there's a word we can add to empower our self-talk ~ USUALLY. Wanda Petunia's focus this week: "I am (usually) prepared" is a great opportunity for self-care.
To add the word "usually" to our self-talk has a two benefits:
1) It adds an element of compassion - I am (usually) prepared, I am (usually) brave, I am (usually) strong... "Usually" acknowledges we can choose to live in grace and give ourselves some slack. Sometimes we miss something or forget something or we are just having a bad day. Even I am (usually) afraid leaves space for knowing we aren't always afraid.
2) "Usually" also opens the door to happier thoughts and closes the door on bad feeling ones. Instead of focusing on mistakes or what we didn't do or should've done > we choose to accentuate the good. Instead of putting ourselves down, we can add a new better feeling thoughts. It's adding sunshine instead of raining on ourselves!
After all, no one is ALWAYS prepared, brave, strong... or even always fearful.
Of course, there are some areas where "usually" doesn't benefit us. "He was (usually) faithful." "She was (usually) not violent." Having clarity about how we want to be treated and our values can create healthy expectations and boundaries.
But the "usually" we are exploring is the one where we release negative self-judgement and harsh self-talk. Instead of declaring yourself a failure with self-talk "I should have known," "I should have done this or that" >>> it's an opportunity to be kind to yourself.
Words have a lot of power to self-harm or self-heal. Adding "usually" can release perfectionism. It's not having to be all knowing and always on top of everything. It's a deep level of self-compassion.
Self-compassion guru Kristin Neff shares research that being mean to yourself doesn't make you more motivated. In fact, the opposite occurs. It's just discouraging... de-motivating... a downer.
If, in your patterning, you're not a particularly self-compassionate person, try giving self what you likely try to give others:
* the benefit of the doubt,
* the spaciousness for being where you are,
* forgiveness for doing the best you can, and
Instead of requiring yourself to always be on the ball and totally in it and on it like a Navy Seal, soften up, lighten up. Remember to let the hard things that come up ~ become an opportunity for self-compassion. It feels better and you are definitely meant to feel better!
Photo: Wanda is a pretty prepared gal! And, she always reminds me to hold compassion for myself . If I am (usually) prepared but one day forget the umbrella, then I can taste the rain.