(Don’t) Try Harder

“Try harder.”

“Be better.”

“Do better.”

Do you recognize these mantras? Can you hear the menace that rumbles just beneath them? You are not enough. You are sinful-shameful-broken.

Listening to these try.harder.darn.it. specters, we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps (again!) and determine to dive into 3 Steps to a Better Me, or Seven Easy How-to’s for Curing ThatUnforgiveableFlaw, or The 60 Day QuickFix for ThatProblemYouHave.

Too tired to click, cure, or fix

Can you feel the tension in your shoulders as you read those words? My jaw is tight just jotting this all down. Are you feeling worn out at the very thought of those easy steps and tricks and fixes? A little curious about how to get out of your (beautiful, creative, intelligent) head and onto a path of authentic growth?

“Curious” may not be the word you’d use.

Try Harder

You may be feeling desperate. There may be a longing in you to understand your Self truly, deeply, honestly. It can sometimes feel like we’ve tried everything in an effort to be the person that our significant other might love. We work so hard at being an exceptional parent and a good child and a beloved friend and a skilled employee(er). We’re not lazy. And we do try harder.

Until our Try Harder konks out on us. Weariness and desolation might kick in. We might feel something that feels like burn-out. Compassion fatigue. Simple exhaustion.

Listening to our lives

What if that so-tired creep of sadness and resentment is important? A voice for us to listen to, and even honor? Could it be that our bodies, minds, and emotions are acting as guides and teachers? Are they inviting us to interact with our Way of Being in a gentler manner? ‘Asking us to turn our attention inward and toward the Original Me? The person we are by design? ‘To shift our understanding of God-as-we-understand-God?

We’ve worked diligently to become someone others might respect, listen to, love. That becoming may have cost us some (or all) of who we truly are. When we try harder…and then stumble and collapse at every attempt…it may be Life’s compassionate way of letting us know that the heart of well-being and healing and growth isn’t solely in our effort.

Not my own superhuman strength?

If it’s not about working my way through the self-help section at the library, what then?

What if there is a path to formation and growth that opens up when we simply let go?

When we release the stories of shame and not-enoughness that have bossed us about for a lifetime, we make space for wondering. For curiosity.

What if we are Enough…adored…Good…not wrong?

This takes unpacking. Companioning. And, in our experience, careful and fiercely gentle reminders (on the daily) that it’s ok to make space in our minds-hearts-souls for a different way of being with Self and with belief.

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