“Go only as fast as the slowest part feels safe to go.” Robin Posin (also from Karen Drucker’s song Gentle With Myself)
There is a certain pride many of us have in being strong in the face of adversity. How many times have you heard someone tell you that you have to remain strong for someone else? And while many of us don’t want to go around falling apart in public, “being strong” does not really honor that part of ourselves that needs to be sad or grieve. For the sake of remaining strong, many of us simply decide to barrel through our difficulties – often closing our eyes and diving into our daily routines. Inevitably, though, the stress of our pain begins to show – we forget appointments, become accident-prone or even get sick. We suddenly realize that where we thought we were holding it together, we were really faking it. How then, can we deal with the difficulties we might face and still manage our lives? First, we have to realize that we deserve to be as gentle with ourselves as we would be with others. We must give ourselves permission to go only as fast as the slowest part of us will go. That means we learn to listen to our pain. We need to learn to say “no” or “I can’t” when our pain dictates. We need not demand that we accept our circumstances, but rather open up to allow the possibility of it to flow in. And that is not to say that we give in to our pain and give up, but it does mean taking each moment slowly. It also means understanding that “being strong” requires that we make our own self-care a priority. It is not our job to hold up the world, but it certainly becomes easier to support others if we can be gentle with ourselves and take care of our own needs first.
Weekly Path to Peace: Be gentle with yourself.
- Go as fast as the slowest part of you will go. If you are dealing with a painful or difficult situation, recognize that there is a part of you that may not be ready to accept your circumstances. We want to better understand that part so that we can move toward acceptance. What does this part of you fear? What would it say to you about its pain? Spend time journaling today and connecting to that pain.
- Because we know that acceptance is the first step toward meaningful change, we want to post a reminder to ourselves to only go as fast as the slowest part of us will go. If we move too fast, we tend to resist our circumstances – but if we are gentle with our pain, we are more likely to gradually ease into acceptance and change.