It was a beautiful sunny day at Stanford and I was meandering outside the research lab. I had been working for the last few hours crunching data in a windowless room, and even though the sun was splashing across my face and the butterflies were around, I was feeling down. I was beating myself up again: How did I end up here? This isn’t the work I want to be doing. This freakin’ sucks.
As I was walking around in my state of negativity and complaining, unaware of the abundance and riches around me, an elder came up to me who was on his way to donate some blood. He stopped me, and looked me right in the eye. “Honey! What’s wrong?”
“Oh, nothing,” I said and took a deep breath.
“Well, my! If you’re down...imagine how ordinary folk feel?!”
It was an unexpected answer, and a funny moment. First, he didn’t think I was ordinary. That was a compliment. Second, he felt I had no reason to be sad, which was kind of true. He sort of snapped me out of it. There was absolutely no reason to be beating myself up. My mind was just spinning and spinning the way it can. The way it does for many of us.
The same thing happened to me again. This year, I’ve done quite a bit and accomplished quite a lot from most people’s perspectives. But my inner critic doesn’t seem to think “it’s enough.” Sometimes, my inner critic thinks I’m doing way worse than I am: that I’m way behind, that I’m somehow a bad person, a hypocrite for even being a women’s leadership coach. And it goes on and on and on.
I was telling my friend about my sh*t storm and she told me to go home and write out all the things I had done this year: poetry book, group leadership program, group sisterhood circle, private clients, vision quest, burning man, women in design, etc.
I’ve done amazing! I deserve to celebrate, to freakin’ take a break, to roll around in my britches. Wait, NO. Herein comes the inner critic:
“Hey Maria, when are you going to write that newsletter? People are waiting for you.”
“I don’t know, maybe later.”
“You know, you should have figured this out by now - a system for writing and sending out newsletters. What’s wrong with you?!”
“I know, you’re right. I don’t know what’s wrong with me!”
What on Earth is going on?
Are we all going crazy?
This is why I firmly believe the most important vital aspects of living are:
(1) Daily rituals that keep you afloat and your energy high so that your mind doesn’t reel
(2) Sisters who you can call when you need to vent, feel like crap, and need to gain some perspective
(3) Self-compassion and wisdom
How do you like to send yourself some love when your mind is going crazy on ya? Comment below in this post.