I take really good care of myself these days.
I eat clean. I sleep lots. I practice gratitude daily. I operate first and foremost from a place of love with almost everything. I rarely drink. I eat mostly vegetarian, no dairy, no gluten, no peanuts, little sugar, no food colouring, no MSG. I exercise. I indulge my creative passions. I love deeply. And I am present with my kids and my family and friends.
And sometimes shit slips by.
Everybody does the best they can do at the time they’re doing it. Maya Angelou said,
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
I know better than I’ve ever known before, and I’m doing better than I ever have before. (Coming from my drinking, smoking, sex-drugs-and-rock-n-roll days, I’ve come a helluva long way.)
And sometime shit slips by.
Sunday night I played a gig and was out really late as a result. Monday morning I was up at 7:30 to take Kid #1 to a dance audition an hour away. I ended up with 5 hours of sleep. No sleep triggers all my pain, weird nervy twitchiness, and migraine stuff.
I had to drive a whole lot on Monday and I was tired as all fuck, so coffee it was. I normally don’t do caffeine. But whatevs. If there was a time, this was it. But there was no Starbucks en route, only Timmies. Which meant no soy, only dairy and sugar. Bother migraine triggers. So it was coffee in one hand and a pre-emptive dose of migraine meds in my other.
Fast-forward to the end of a long, long day.
I had Kid #2 at golf lessons, and I had just enough time to run home, throw food at the other two, and return to the golf course to pick up the budding LPGA Pro. And I had not one ounce of energy left in my fragile old bones. So I ordered pizza for the kids – a rarity in our house. (I almost always cook – we rarely eat out or order in.)
Turns out, I didn’t even have enough energy to feed myself something that would be a healthy choice for me.
Translation: I knew that eating pizza held a really, really high possibility of a migraine at the other end of it for me. But I just didn’t have it in me to make any other choice. So once again, I had pizza in one hand and the pre-emptive migraine meds in the other hand.
And yes, today, I have been on the cusp of a migraine all day long. And yesterday I knew I was rolling that big ol’ roulette wheel. And therein lies the twisted, bizarre, sometimes very hard to accept lesson:
Sometimes we make bad choices. Many times we even know we’re making bad choices as we make them. And sometimes the best thing we can do is show ourselves a little gentleness around those choices.
That’s right. I said it.
Stop beating yourself up because you ate the slice of cake you promised yourself you wouldn’t.
Stop lacerating yourself because you didn’t get to that yoga class. Again.
Stop telling yourself a story about being a terrible person because you didn’t keep up with all 312 commitments that you overextended yourself into in the first place.
Because here’s the thing. Yes, when we know better, we do better. But for so many of us, knowing better means being harder on ourselves. And that doesn’t always help us or anyone around us. Sometimes what we need is a little gentleness.
We all deserve a little gentleness in our lives, especially from ourselves. Especially when we don’t get it right.
Tweet it: We all deserve a little gentleness in our lives, especially from ourselves. Especially when we don’t get it right.
So this weekend I pretty much knowingly made myself ill with a migraine, and it was still the best way to take care of myself in the moment. And I chose to be gentle with myself around that, and let myself off the hook for not doing “better.” Tell me in the comments below – where are you unnecessarily hard on yourself? What are some ways you can best take care of yourself and extend some gentleness towards yourself?