Listening to people from all walks of life, I’ve noticed a common foe of resilience: self-blame. It’s sneaky, like a deadly undertow. The self-blaming person is all hope and forward intention above water, but underneath, their feet are being sucked backwards. There’s no omen more worthy of dread in that situation than the words “I should”, or their ugly cousin “I should have”. The shoulds have their own mysterious, immobilizing power. It’s hard to think of a way out.
Restrained and thwarted by our own thoughts, we become fixated on what we didn’t do in a way that presents zero solutions. “Why did I do that?” “What was I thinking?” “Why am I so hell-bent on self-sabotage?” Did you ever notice that there is no way of coming up with a good answer to such a question? Questions like these are worse than useless; they’re downright dangerous. And yet we insist on wading into the same dark water without our waterwings. Continue reading →
I’ve noticed that goal setting works a whole lot better when I’m gentle with myself. Let me name it right off the top: I think New Year’s resolutions are often just ways for people to disappoint themselves. Do we need more reasons to beat ourselves up? No. Then why do we make them?
Because the lure of self-improvement is real. Even in the darkest moments of life, when motivation and hope are scarce, there is often a faint voice in the depths saying “I wish it were otherwise”.
I propose a new approach. I call it “Intentionally Misinterpreting the Word ‘Resolution’”. Continue reading →