I just finished my manuscript for a new book I’ve been working on, Give Your Kids a Break: Parenting with Compassion for You and Your Children. It’s at my editor right now, and I hope it will be published in November.
It’s been enjoyable to work on, and I’ve been working very hard. Along the way, I’ve had to process some difficult feelings. I’m usually good at meeting deadlines, but I missed several deadlines to get my manuscript to my editor. I had to send three e-mails saying how sorry I was to not be able to send it in on time. This was hard for me to go through.
I had to work hard to not be unkind to myself
The reality is I have pretty good reasons for why it’s been hard to make my deadlines. Most of you may know that I have a serious lung disease, that keeps me at home most of the time while using supplemental oxygen.
I kept thinking I could get a certain amount of writing done, but then I’d have a hard day, or get worn out, and that writing day was no more. I apologized, and then missed two more deadlines. Fortunately, my editor was quite understanding, but I still had to deal with my own self-talk.
I started to say things like, “What’s wrong with you? How could you miss your deadline? You’re so lame.”
Of course, I know I have good reasons for taking longer than expected. My lungs are really sick, and this affects my ability to do pretty much everything. In reality, it’s pretty amazing I was able to get it done at all.
But shame can take hold, and destroy kindness
Shame says, ”There’s something wrong with you; you are a bad person; or you are worthless.” This is very different than truth that says, “You missed a deadline…or three. That isn’t like you, let’s figure out what the problem is.”
I decided to say no to the shaming messages, and instead pursue truth. What I discovered was that I’m not able to accurately estimate how long it takes me to complete most any project. What I do know is everything takes a lot longer than expected – probably three times as long.
For me to accept my new reality, I have to grieve the fact it is true
I’ve been sad about this for several days. The blessing is that accepting reality gives me the chance to adjust, and set realistic expectations for myself for the future. If I don’t, I’ll expect myself to complete a project in an unrealistic amount of time, and fail again.
I’m glad I was able to use this experience to treat myself with kindness, and learn a good lesson. We all fail, it’s part of life. We all need ways to treat our imperfections with kindness.
How about you? I’d love to hear from you!
How do you handle it when you fail, or don’t meet your expectations? What about treating yourself with kindness? Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
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