Can Too Much Gratitude be a Problem? - Sage B. Hobbs

A couple of weeks ago I had 36 magical hours alone in my house.  Just me and the puppy.  I know that the pandemic has left some feeling isolated and others feeling constantly “together.”

For me, I desperately needed time to myself. To just be. To think. To not be needed or responsible for anything or anyone.  I. Was. So. Ready.

But no sooner had my husband and kids driven away did I start coming up with all the things that I should do (and all the things I shouldn’t.)  It was like a deluge of self-imposed expectations swimming in my head.  

I should write that article I’ve been putting off.  I should fold the laundry. I should clean the kitchen. I should go for a walk and get some exercise. I should read a good book.  I should finally write the new program. I should eat something fresh and healthy.

I shouldn’t lie on the couch and watch Netflix.  I shouldn’t have ice cream by the fire at 2:00 in the afternoon. I shouldn’t order a huge fried chicken cutlet sandwich for dinner.  I shouldn’t stay inside, in my pajamas.

So, I decided to play a little game with myself.  A bit of self-coaching.  
I gave myself permission to do what I WANTED to do.  I stopped should-ing on myself.

Ate what I wanted.  Watched what I wanted. Slept when I wanted.  Didn’t go on a walk.  Didn’t eat healthy foods. Didn’t do any laundry.

It was AMAZING.  I still attended a 6 hour retreat for the non-profit board that I’m on.  I still wrote the curriculum for a teacher training I was leading the following week. 

BUT, I didn’t berate myself at every turn.  Wherever I could do what I wanted, I allowed myself to do so.  It was surprisingly really hard for me to do… to be kind to myself the way that I would be to others.

Some say that you often teach what you still have to learn.  In this case, I chose to write the upcoming teacher training about self-compassion.  And I was honest with the staff during our time together about how hard self-compassion can be for me.  I’m working on it.  I’ll probably have to work on it forever.

I kept thinking of something that my mom often says –  that your greatest strength can also be your greatest liability.  In this scenario, my sense of gratitude was a liability for me. 

I live my life with an appreciation for how lucky I have it, how privileged I am, how blessed I feel.  This abundance of gratitude usually serves me well, and I believe that our outlook is a choice… so we may as well choose what serves us and empowers us.

AND, when I only allow myself to feel gratitude, and I don’t give myself any self-compassion for what IS hard, what IS sad, what IS overwhelming – it’s to my own detriment. Ouch. I would never tell a beloved friend or client to simply “find the silver lining” without acknowledging what they’re feeling or going through first.

Why do I “should” (and shouldn’t) all over myself without giving myself the kindness and compassion I would show someone else?!

It was a revelation. And my weekend was SO much more lovely because I gave myself what I so desperately needed – REST (without making myself wrong for it… self-compassion.)

So, how can you show yourself a bit more self-compassion this week? 
What “should” can you let go of?

Much love and more nakedness,