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Wet grass

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How To Fall Off Your Wagon Without Injury

Hi there, how are you today?

What’s the wagon you currently want to be on?

One of my wagons is wanting to communicate with you regularly, so that I might encourage you to hold yourself with love and care amidst your struggles. To share with you what I’m learning, which has helped me so much and continues to help when my wagon either veers in the wrong direction or I totally fall off.

When I don’t meet my own intention of trying to speak to you each week, its easy to feel like I’ve failed. Failed to remind you that you really matter to me, that I care about what’s going on in your heart and how you’re navigating this one-time life of joy and pain.

Whether the wagon you want to be on is reminding someone they matter to you, keeping to a much needed exercise or eating plan, or something else, we all fall off our wagons and when we do, we usually give ourselves a really hard time and it hurts.

Many of us have very high standards for ourselves and if we aren’t comparing ourselves to so and so, we’re comparing ourselves to a version of us we think we SHOULD be. 'Comparing' is completely exhausting and to first notice that we’re doing it, is the first kind thing we can do for our tired hurting selves. We need to ditch the age-old idea of needing to be ‘better than’ the next person or that version of us we think we should be, and start taking care of the one who is really here with grazed knees and a bruised heart having just fallen off that wagon.

When we start giving the version of us who falls the much-needed kindness and understanding that’s been lacking, we actually begin to take an active interest in helping ourselves in more gentle and proactive ways.

Kristen Neff and Chris Germer - world leading authorities on Mindful Self-compassion say that the most common misgiving people have is that self-compassion might undermine their motivation to achieve the things that are important to them. Most people believe that self-criticism is an effective motivator, but its not. Self-criticism tends to undermine self-confidence and leads to a fear of failure. If we are self-compassionate, we will still be motivated to reach our goals – not because we’re inadequate as we are, but because we care about ourselves and want to reach our full potential. Research shows that self-compassionate people have high personal standards; they just don’t beat themselves up when they fail. This means they are less afraid of failure and are more likely to try again and to persist in their efforts after failing.

In my experience I used to think that there was a finite number of times I could fail at something and once I’d used up those chances, I was done for. Simply not ‘good enough’. Now I see that there is no end to how many times we can begin again. Self-compassionate people recognise that failure is part of life, its all part of the process of living. We can’t learn anything if we don’t fail and when we do fail, the invitation to ‘just begin again’ never gets old.

You might like to just take a pause here and notice for a moment how it might feel to not even judge yourself in the slightest for your last failure and see how it feels to know you really don’t need to go anywhere dark with this. One of the things that has really helped me in all of this, is understanding that I’m loved if I engage well with what I want to achieve, and I’m loved if I don’t. Whilst its easy to wonder how that can be motivating, I’ve found that I still am! only this way I don’t have a shed load of judgement to carry around with me on that wagon. So when I fall off, the injury is lessened by the fact I have less 'judgement-baggage' that falls on top of me and I don't have to pick that up too. That makes a big difference.

I invite you to lighten your load as you pick yourself up again today, there is no end to the number of chances you're allowed to have. You are loved no matter what, its only you who is judging you, even if you're judging yourself on behalf of someone else! that's projecting your judgement. The sooner you realise its not helping heal those bruises, the easier the climb back on that wagon will be.

Be lighter and well today.



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