In addition to curbing my media intake, I have committed to restarting a gratitude practice. Starting last week, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights, I write down three things I am grateful for in my three lines journal. It is not a demanding practice and so far I am at 100% participation for my first week. How about that – something to celebrate!
I am not being sarcastic – will-power and self-motivation are not my strong suits; I really am celebrating my one week achievement. For a long time, I refused to set goals for myself because I insisted it would always be a set-up for failure, another confirmation of my inability to follow-through.
I put a lot of pressure on myself and set unrealistic expectations. I was really good at being hard on myself. By the time I became a parent to three young children, I realized that I might “expectation” myself into an early grave if I kept at it. Sometimes, the kitchen floor is going to be dirty, and we will all survive. Sometimes, I am going to lose my temper and raise my voice, and we will hug and say sorry once things cool off.
Coaching also has helped me to let go of that perfectionist streak, learning to be my own champion, to quiet the inner critic voices and embrace good enough. It sounds a little corny, but I’ll say it anyway: it is amazing what we can do (and who we can be) when we believe in ourselves.
So, tying this back to current state of affairs in our country –
It would be easy for me, and perhaps for other white, cis-gendered heterosexuals who feel unnerved by the election, to give up on our country, to pack our bags or close our minds with cynicism. That is a luxury our privilege affords us.
But what if we believe in ourselves and believe that we can make a difference? What if we believe in our country - that it can embody the values of inclusion and compassion and equality?
One thing I know is true - it cannot happen if we don’t believe it.
Where do we start? That is the question I have been asking myself this week. For me, it started with offering a process circle at my local Unitarian church. I invited people to come process their post-election feelings in a safe and supportive space where no one got to be wrong, where everyone was invited to share their present experience and reflect on the journey ahead. People left feeling heard, feeling held, feeling hopeful.
For me, it felt like a first, small step. I cannot reach out and grasp every hand. But I can touch three or four or maybe more...and it is a first step in living out and promoting the values that are central to my beliefs and feel threatened in our current circumstances.
I am not fooled into thinking this is enough. I am not allowing myself to get comfortable here, resting on my laurels. Instead, I will ask, "What's next?"
I will believe in myself - that I can make a difference.
And I believe that you can, too.
Where in your life are you not giving yourself enough credit? In what way might you believe in yourself more?
What feels possible from here? What feels like a possible first step?