Surely by being gentle all the time we’re going to drop some balls? I can’t afford to drop any right now.
This is one of the thoughts that comes up when we start look into changing our habits to be kinder and more compassionate to ourselves, and one that much of the gentle life group had grappled with before they signed up to the first gentle life course.
We had people on that course who were:
- Starting and running their own businesses
- Busy mums juggling a household, children, errands, work, life
- People who were recovering from serious illness and wanting change
Despite these different groups (although not always mutually exclusive) the commonality was clear – at some point they had all pushed themselves too much and realised it wasn’t how they wanted to live.
Either by trying to cram too much into their day, or wanting a lot from themselves despite the pressure they were under or expecting to do something perfectly even though it wasn’t a skill they were good at.
In all, when it came to looking at both what their gentle life would look like and how they might begin to lead that life, the question of ‘how will I get what I need done, if i’m just gentle all the time’ came up. Won’t it look lazy?Won’t I drop loads of balls?Won’t I just end up doing nothing? Let’s take a look at some of the answers to that…
1. In working towards a gentle life, you’re already leading it
By simply being aware, you are already taking a huge step.
In the last blog we discovered how this is much more of a life long experience than something you just become and stay.
Your awareness alone will provide an objectivity to how you are acting, reacting and being. Your awareness will do the same for others, in how they are, and provide a learning platform to mentally store your findings, observations and thoughts on how it could be different next time.
This awareness, I guarantee, will actually start to change how you then DO act and react and even if in just small, subtle ways, it will happen. Imagine then, if you did more than just become aware. Imagine if you had a plan of how to continually work with what you see, hear, feel around you about your (currently not-so) gentle life and how far that could take you? Without even much work you’ll be in a situation where you feel strong and empowered to lead life gently.
2. In taking things off your plate, you become more efficient
However much you have to do and however important it is (to you or anyone else), the less you’re doing the more likely you are to do the tasks better.
I’m all for giving a busy person a job to do and them getting it done in half the time, but this is different. This is about being overwhelmed and exhausted. If you can focus better you’ll achieve more. And to focus, you need to make decisions and choices about what to focus on, and that means dropping some things for other things.
If it means stopping the daily yoga because you’re overwhelmed with all the other self care activities you try to fit in and they’re feeling anything but self caring, great – you’ve just taken the best self care action you can.
If it means deciding on one route for your new business today so that you take action rather than feel stuck, so be it.
If it means cancelling plans to clear some time for sleep because you need to sleep, done. Often we see these are selfish acts, and ones that are deemed as lazy and a potential slippery slope – ie. If I allow myself that what will it be next?
But if we don’t make decisions that help us in our energy, daily life and management then we’re only setting ourselves up for failure in one way or another.
Ironically those who are most aware of self-care and healthy living can often be their own worst enemy. Trying to lead a life where we do all the things to achieve a healthy, or gentle, life if they all just feel like another task to tick off the list then what’s the point? Why not do one or two really well, with care and attention, that means we truly enjoy the process?
That to me is the most gentle we can be.
3. You get lots done when you have one clear goal
If we hold ‘being gentle’, for example, as our goal – imagine what it could do to all the thoughts, feelings, actions and behaviours you have.
‘I’m about to head into a difficult conversation – I’d like to do it gently’
‘I’m preparing for a big presentation – I’ll be gentle with myself in how I do it’
‘I’m really tired today – I’ll go gently with my day’
How much nicer are those thoughts? It doesn’t mean not doing anything or hiding away. It means carrying out any activity with the one philosophy in mind.
4. Being gentle isn’t selfish – it helps everyone around you
It’s not selfish to think about how you can look after yourself in a way that enables you to feel strong. It’s not selfish to make changes that get you healthy and well.
It’s not selfish to focus on yourself if you’ve spent most of your time, particularly, worrying about how others perceive you or their feelings. For once, you’re bringing it back to you. And it’s not selfish to help yourself get empowered to know what you need which inevitably helps you communicate and be a better person for those around you.