How often do you apologize?
I don’t mean when you do something wrong and need to atone.
I mean for meaningless things. Without thinking. Without reason. Compulsively.
I do it all the time, and when my beloved daughter Lily was home this past week, she brought it to my attention, over and over again.
I apologized constantly, for ridiculous things, like when the dishes I was washing clanked together. Or being upstairs when she thought I was downstairs….
I could be optimistic and hope her generation of women doesn’t share this habit, but she came back from a party saying her friends do the same thing. Constantly.
Don’t get me wrong. Lily wasn’t judgmental, or mean, or critical. She was insightful, thoughtful, and troubled. It was powerful, coming from my daughter.
Did you ever see the Inside Amy Schumer skit where a panel of eminent women are supposed to present their prize-winning scientific research, and instead end up apologizing all over each other for – well, for existing. (It’s Season 3, Episode 4. I’d share the clip, but Comedy Central won’t let me.)
Some of this comes from the deeply seated compulsion to be “perfect”, from the illusion that we must be (or at least seem) flawless to be lovable, which is, of course, an impossible task, and each time we “fail”, it reinforces that old feeling of not being good enough.
Do you know what I mean?
This “perfection compulsion” has its benefits. It has driven me to understand and to learn, to figure out aspects of my life and my work that I never would have gotten to otherwise, to stick with gnarly problems for my clients until I figure them out, when no one else could.
I want to get it right. Don’t you?
But there’s such a price to pay when we never let ourselves off the hook. And while learning and understanding are indeed infinite, they become abusive if they work against our sense of peace and self-acceptance.
I tell my clients all the time: treat yourself more kindly. Treat yourself with as much compassion as you would a child, as you would anyone else
And I have learned to be SO much kinder to myself, for sure. Going through cancer was such a good teacher. I had to slow down. I had to ask for help – which was incredibly uncomfortable. I had to learn to rest more, work fewer hours, and re-evaluate what I thought of as a balanced and full life.
…despite all I have learned, and all I have accomplished (not the least of it raising such a wise and wonderful daughter!), there is still that background buzz: is it enough? Am I enough? What else can I do to be better?
It’s a hamster wheel, going nowhere, and I invite you to join me in stepping off.
I want to bring my own awareness to this is a big way right now, and I’m wondering how many of you resonate with the issue. (I think it is mostly a woman’s issue, but please let me know if I am wrong.)
I practiced this today, on the phone, in emails, any time I caught myself. I may have missed a bunch, but at least now I have it on my radar.
Because the first step to change is being more aware; to make it VISIBLE.
I have my daughter to thank for that, and I hope maybe I did the same for some of you.
Does this resonate with you, to0? I’d love to know. Please leave a comment.
p.s. I have always taught that Nourishment is about what supports you in thriving in your life, not just nutrition, but on ALL levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
That’s the premise of my Zen Vitality Detox: that the more consistently we choose only what truly nourishes us, the happier and healthier we can be.
These are the kinds of issues we’ll be looking at in this
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