Self-Kindness+Satisfaction=Yummy Flow

My coach Michele asked me the hottest question yesterday (as in put my butt in the hot seat):

If you didn’t suck for doing it the way you have been doing it, what could you lightly choose to do differently?

Before you think Michele is a terrible meanie, she was referring to my whining and kvetching about not finishing a virtual nine-week yoga series.  I felt so badly that I had not kept my commitment to do a daily practice, that I hid from the the rest of the classes.

Put my head down and hid and then kicked myself whenever I thought of it. (Yoga hiding bruises hurt.)

I cut myself off from something that nourishes me and brings me alive. Why in the hell would I do that?

Journaling this morning, I saw WHY:

It was my pesky high standards yet again + making a weak promise to myself.

When I signed up for the class, I did not know it involved a 45 minute daily commitment.

When the teacher said that during the first class, I froze. I thought, “There is no way I can do that.”

But then, you know what I did? Because I wanted to get the most out of the class – I had spent money! –  I said, “I’ll try.”

I’ll try – two very dirty words

When you say, “I’ll try,” you exit reality and enter fantasy land where you have endlessly time and energy. Try is magical thinking. “I’ll try” is a very good way to summon the Hounds of More. It works better than bacon.

One of the four elements of COE’s is “Can you do it on an ordinary day?” Not a perfect day, the kind that we all want and Andrew brilliantly describes being trapped by here. But the kind of day you almost always have – the garbage disposal backs up, your teenager has bad cramps and needs mothering, you feel stupid from allergies – that kind of day.

When I said, “I’ll try to do yoga for 45 minutes every day” I knew there was no way I could, given my travel schedule and writing commitments.  That’s a weak or criminal promise – I had no way or no intention of keeping it. But instead of using COE’s and making a strong, measurable promise to myself, I stayed in the vague energy draining land of “I’ll try.”

I’ll try is a great place to hide.

You got no skin in the game. You don’t have to reckon with what is really possible – which is always a little less shiny and perfect than your vague dreams.

The only trouble is, when you make weak promise to yourself, you invite yourself to feel rotten. You invite yourself to doubt you can ever be trusted.

Then you hide or you eat or you surf the Internet or you do busy work, all the while beating yourself with the stick of your weak promise.

You then start making more rules and goals to prove you are good, you can be trusted, which makes you feel more awful, weighed down and unhappy… and you do less of what you really want to do and eat more crap and procrasinate more and then…

Your head explodes.

Or instead, you join me, you stop trying, you stop making vague weak promises to yourself, you pick up some clarity and self-kindness, framed by bracing simple and honest COE’s, and you get some flow going.

That’s called real life. And that feels so good.

P.S. Yes I launched a new product yesterday. My first new thing in years. It’s brilliant and that is not a weak or criminal promise!

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jenniferlouden - May 13, 2010

Thanks gals, love that we are in this together!

jamie - May 13, 2010

First of all, who knew anything could work better than bacon? Seriously?!

I’m with you on this. There’s something so energetically draining about that in-between place that ‘try’ and weak promises represents. I feel so much more empowered by fewer, truer promises.

And “can I do it on an ordinary day?” Brilliant guiding question!

Great insight, Jen!

Eliane - May 13, 2010

You just described this awfull cicle in such a clear and beautiful way!! Thank you!! That is exactly what happens to me. Sometimes I can see it so I can stand up, give myself a pad and say:” Here I am being human again”. Other times I just keep going until I have no energy left, and no one who still wants to be around me. This grumpy little girl just needs to see. “I SEE YOU, JEN”
Thank you from my heart.

Linda - May 13, 2010

I also loved the bacon comment. Made me really laugh!
I joke that I’d become a vegetarian if it weren’t for bacon.

Catherine - May 14, 2010

I’d like to agree with a proviso…

Sometimes “I’ll try” is the tool you need to venture into territory that otherwise is too scary or overwhelming.

For instance, “I’ll do a public bellydance performance in front of at least 100 people” can be so intimidating to many folks that they put away their coin belts and never dance again.

But “I’ll try..,” gives them permission to fail if they need, and that permission can be what they need to dare the unexplored territories of life.

Failure is an important part of growth and learning, and acknowledgement that you can experiment(I’ll try…) and don’t have to be perfect right away is what gives people the ability to move outside of their comfort zones.

Used correctly, “I’ll try” can be a powerful technique


Rachel’s Challenge | Comfort Queen - May 18, 2010

[…] is a super smart writer, editor, mother of four who, after reading my last blog post, gave me a challenge: I’m going to be *really* obnoxious and ask, so, if you could go back and […]

iHanna - May 23, 2010

I know how stupid it is, but I do this to myself too. Thanks for the reminder!

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