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February 26, 2023

What a Failed Rocket Launch can Remind us About Giving Ourselves a Little Grace

Self-acceptance has been a heavy theme this week, emerging from several unconnected conversations with friends and clients.

This has been especially true for me this week. Every day, I experienced false starts with my writing, and with other projects with which I am trying to progress. In truth, landing back in Nicaragua (after only 10 days in the States) still required grounding and reassimilating. It felt a little messy in remembering where I had left off.

Not because Nicaragua is so hard of a place to live.  It’s not. Especially where I live. It’s mostly comfortable and mostly friendly.  I guess I just needed time to return to my routine.  Time to fall back in line with the time zone, with the flow of my daily tasks. Time to pay attention to my cat that I probably have a co-dependent relationship with now.  (I’m not ashamed.  Everybody needs somebody.)

But in taking that time to fumble back into my life here, I felt lethargic and groggy.  I wanted to knock out chores, work tasks, lock into inspiration, and write, but . . . somehow I’m still not totally unpacked.  Writing was sporadic and blah. My clarity for what the heck I was trying to accomplish was lacking.

This inability to jump on a racing horse this week down-spun me into feeling so terrible about my own capabilities, it began to spiral into self-doubt, questioning my life decisions, feelings of failure, and all the insecurities I know better than to feed.

I didn’t feed them.  But I felt their presence.  This was all validated by unexpected chats that arose from all sides this week.  People carrying the burden of not being enough, not doing enough, and not feeling they are all they should be.   Good-hearted, capable, hard-working admirable, and accomplished people shared this.

We can be so hard on ourselves.

And that is just it.  We are hard on our own selves.

So often we are responsible for the pressure we feel we are under. We place demands and expectations without giving ourselves the grace we may deserve.

Last I checked, most of us aren’t robots. Yet.

Life will side-swipe us some days, even if it’s something like a bad night’s sleep, or something more permanent that changes our direction. We’ll feel. We’ll have to re-organize our priorities for the day.

Yes, some of us have higher-ups that breathe heavily over shoulders until a deadline is made, sure.  But I’m speaking to our own personal standards we set for ourselves that have nothing to do with an employer, or parent, or teacher, or whoever.

Sometimes I feel like I have really failed myself.  I look around, and all I see are gaping holes where flowering success should flourish. Define success as you wish – physical agility, musical talent, writing, money, business, education, love.  I can make this list longer, but you get my point.

It’s the trap I fall into where I am looking at the lack of things, rather than the abundance of things.

Have I failed myself by being a day late with writing this week? Have I failed my readers? (Please don’t write yes).  Have I failed myself by taking too darn long to figure out techy problems on my computer? Why did I only do yoga once this week?

These are things that when I fail to do them – no one else actually cares. I don’t think. It’s me who cares. It’s me who feels like I sucked this week at so many things.

I literally played a Gratitude Meditation in my truck the other day driving the to store because I wanted to shake this funky mood.  Focus on the good.  I always encourage others to shift into this mindset.  I am trying to remember to take my own advice when I feel this way.

And I’m also trying to remember, that if I miss a deadline for something, it is almost always a deadline I set for myself just because.  What if I took a breath, and let the universe unfurl my life on its own wrinkle-free timeline?

It is possible to show up in whatever ways I can and cut myself some frickin slack.  Right?

On Thursday, rather than write, I added a 40-minute walk to my schedule. Then I spent 2 hours editing something that had no deadline.

And then I chose to sacrifice my last creative hour of the evening so that I could watch the final episode of Challenger, the Final Flight on Netflix. (Sidenote, but completely on par with the theme of this post, the Challenger Space Shuttle launched despite NASA not being completely ready, but they rushed to meet a political deadline. The result of their pushing to stay within a timeline was a catastrophic explosion and the tragic death of innocents. Broadcast live in front of the whole watching world. Including young school children.)

My own self-imposed deadlines will likely never result in such an irreversible and fatal disaster as an exploding rocket ship. But if we pause, often the self-criticism, harshness, and self-judgment we will recognize as damaging in some way. Damaging to our own sense of self, and maybe even damaging to others around us, sadly.

So there.  This is why you are reading Friday’s post on Saturday.  Because I had a discombobulated week of more misses than hits, but I’m still here.  All the things I actually needed to achieve were achieved.

If anything, perhaps this waves a flag for anyone who might appreciate the reminder.

Maybe our personal standards are high with the heroic aim to drive us.  Drive, ambition, and motivation – these are all good things. But some days, maybe life just can’t unfurl wrinkle-free, and we just have to do the best we can to ride it out.

Some days, we might be better off just giving ourselves a little grace.

~ Christy

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My stories are pretty good.

Christy Nichols
Author |  Life Purpose & Book Coach | Curator of Transformational Experiences | CEO at Venture Within | Purposeful Travel Advocate
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