Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stumble; pick yourself up gently.

I've stumbled a bit. I was doing really well with my word and my new (as yet mostly undisclosed) New Year's goals, and then I faltered.

My daily journaling project is going well, my photography project is running along smoothly, and I'm enjoying both of those very much. But I've come to a point with one of my other new beginnings where I've stopped (though not with intention) and I'm not sure where to go from here, or how to begin again. My method wasn't working for me as well as I'd hoped; it's proving not to be as effective as my approach for these other ongoing projects. I think I simply need a new angle.

And yet, I find myself struggling against that negative inner critic who reminds me of all my past failures as evidence of the outcome of this current project. I find myself arguing with her about what this stumble on the path toward my goal really means about me. The nicer, rational part of me thinks it means I'm human and fallible what!?

Today I'm wondering:

What is the best solution when you stumble—or fall down, perhaps never to regain the same path—on a journey? Is it a marker of imminent failure? Is it evidence of your past patterns of failure beginning to play themselves out in a brand new glorious way? Maybe this is really just an opportunity to remind myself to be gentle. Maybe it doesn't mean I should give up on my goal or stop persevering.

I'm finding that perseverance and being gentle and kind to myself are not mutually exclusive. After all, I made each of these goals in an effort to improve myself in some way. What better moment than this to take the opportunity to be supportive of myself when I'm not feeling totally successful?

Persevere with gentleness. I'll try on this new mantra for a while and see how it serves me.

What do you do when you stumble? Would you change that response in any way? What's the best advice you have to support others going through this same type of struggle? I'd be honored to learn from all your wisdom.


  1. Yes, there is so much pressure to be perfect! I used to give myself a really hard time for "quitting," probably because that's what coaches, teachers, movies, etc drill into us from an early age. But this past fall I started running and over the past few months I've learned that collecting a long string of never-misses is not the only way to succeed. Jumping back in again in spite of the misses works too. I quit running a couple of times and still went on to finish a 5K (slowly), and am training to do a 10K the last of March. Jumping back in wasn't as hard as I thought, but I definitely think I am less likely to do it, no matter what the goal, when I am hard on myself and feeling awful about what I haven't yet accomplished.

  2. Be kind to yourself, be gentle with yourself. You are a marvelous, wonderful, one of a kind person and I love you just as you are!Peggy

  3. Maybe reevaluate your measure of success? Sometimes goals need to be adjusted - that's not a failure, it might not even be a "stumble," it's just the reality of the situation - and realities change from the time we make goals, to the time we are on the journey to completing them.

  4. I have learned that the inner critic is trying to help -- misguided, harsh, but trying to protect. I have to listen to her with compassion for where she's coming from, what she's experienced, and what she's trying to do -- even while I set aside her misguided and harsh recriminations and advice. It sounds so hokey... but it helps.

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