So I’ve failed. I didn’t write anything yesterday. I almost got out of bed at 11:50 to write something quickly so as not to miss my self-imposed deadline. But I was tired and I didn’t really have anything to say. So I let those last 10 minutes tick by without writing anything.
So. It’s been a little over a month and I’ve failed in my goal to write every day.
There are a couple of ways that I can respond to this. I can do what comes most naturally to me – throw up my hands and say I guess there was no point in trying, I quit. This is a frequent refrain when I diet or try to lose weight. OR I could say I’m doing my best, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be perfect. I’ll keep trying.
This is a harder one to go for because it requires that I let go of the shame I feel for not just writing something. It requires me to offer myself some forgiveness about not meeting what was, after all, a pretty difficult goal. Even as I sit here writing this, I find it hard to accept. I want to argue about why I should feel bad. I want to argue with myself about why shame is appropriate. But shame doesn’t actually make me want to write.
Writing every day (or almost every day) is difficult, but it requires a lot of hope – that I have something to say and that I’ll be able to say it. It requires a lot of investment in myself to take the time needed to sit down and write something. Those are hopeful things, they’re things that help me to feel good. But let’s face it, if you’re living in shame and embarrassment and regret, you don’t want to make that person feel good.
So I’m trying to be soft with myself and offer myself some forgiveness – to give myself the same feedback that I would give my clients. To reduce my black and white thinking from pass/fail to grading for effort and giving credit for doing the best that I can on some pretty busy/crazy days.
Shame is not necessary to motivate us. Feeling good is so much better as a motivator than shame. We all want to feel good – to feel comfortable with who we are. In order to take care of ourselves we must first tell ourselves that we’re worthy of being cared for. A shameful person doesn’t really deserve care and arguing that we will do it anyway is pretty foolish.
So. It’s out of the way, I failed at the goal. But I’m still working on me and trying to write every day.