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Be gentle with yourself

This society we live in is very goal and results oriented. Look around you and you’ll see deadlines, objectives, incentives and rewards. Sitting back and taking it easy is often frowned upon. People will tell you that you need to work hard to achieve your goals. If you’re taking it easy, then you must be lazy, or something’s wrong with you. But all of that is true only if you believe it is.


I began a writing project in early 2012 that included setting deadlines and goals for myself around a single topic. Then I spent time looking at the results so that I could measure the effectiveness of what I was doing against the goals and deadlines I had.

But that really wasn’t working for me, not to mention just writing about a single topic, so I started to move away from doing that. The pressure of those deadlines was taking away my enjoyment of what I was doing. Instead of enjoying the writing and allowing my writing to come to me when I was inspired to do so, I was working to a deadline and forcing myself to find inspiration.

After a few months of this I ended up realising I needed to take a break.

What I really needed to take a break from was the expectations I was placing upon myself. I needed to stop thinking I should work to deadlines and objectives, and I needed to return to just enjoying the progression of my life.

Sometimes you just need to do what you feel like doing, instead of what you feel you have to do.

If you have a desire to do something, you should. Even if it feels like it’s taking you away from the direction you originally want to go, you should definitely do it. Especially if you think it will be enjoyable and rewarding for you.

When you’re doing things that your heart and mind just isn’t into, and you feel like you could be doing something better – you’re absolutely right. You really could be doing something better with your time, something that you’re more interested in, that’ll bring you more enjoyment.

Take a break from what’s leaving you bored and unfulfilled, and do what interests you instead. Even if it’s a distraction, like a game, you should do it. Don’t beat yourself up about getting distracted from what you think you should be doing.

Be careful about procrastination though. You don’t want to distract yourself by sabotaging your own efforts.

If your instincts are strongly telling you to take a break, follow your instincts. And when you do, you’ll be refreshed and recharged by it. Let yourself do it for as long as you feel is right for you – however long that might be! You’ll know when the time is right to go back to what you needed to be distracted from.

Be gentle on yourself. Don’t believe the hype about objectives and deadlines in your personal life. Let yourself do something different when you feel like you should.

Go for a drive, play a game, read a book, see a movie, write a story, spend time with friends and family, have a bubble bath, meditate, talk to an animal, hug a tree, go for a swim, take a holiday, climb a mountain…

Whatever is in your heart, let yourself do it. And do it for as long as you feel you need to.

You might be surprised where it’ll take you.

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