We like getting stuff done.
We like achievements and successes.
We rely on the structure of our lives. We ground ourselves in our routines. We dream together with our vacation plans and aspirations of the future. We depend on the perceived safety of our lives.
And for the moment, all of that has gone out the window.
It is no wonder that we are anxious, uncomfortable, and scared. We are in crisis, and we are scrambling to find normalcy.
In our efforts to calm our mind and settle ourselves, we have decided that now is a really good time to write a novel, clean every closet, or get in the best shape of our life. At the same time, we are being bombarded with a constant stream of information about the state of the world in this time of pandemic hysteria.
Our well-intentioned friends (myself included) give us helpful resources and information on what we “should” be doing to mitigate the hysteria and stress: meditate, yoga, take lots of vitamin C, get outside for a daily dose of vitamin D and exercise, care for those around us, and the list goes on and on. I could literally spend my whole day taking one online yoga class after another or listening to one webinar after another.
These things are amazing and important—and they can feed our inner critic who might want to tell us we are not doing enough.
What I desperately need to hear is that I am doing enough, that I am enough. Our houses may be a mess. Our kids may be watching movie after movie. We may only really “work” a few hours per day. And yet we are all still doing enough.
But what about that voice inside that says something like, “But I should be doing (fill in the blank),” or “This isn’t how it is supposed to be. I could be doing more to help, create, inspire, and so on”?
Perhaps it is time to examine: “What is enough?”
As an acupuncturist and yoga teacher, I absolutely advise doing those things that help calm our stress, soothe our nervous system, or bolster our immunity, like yoga, breathwork, meditation, outdoor time—but, at the same time, enough needs to be enough.
For me, there have been many more naps and skipping yet another “super important” webinar about how to transform my business to an online platform. I’ve reminded my daughter that every optional school assignment does not have to be completed, as her inner critic was reaching a boiling point of stress and anxiety. My husband has had to let go of his usual eight-hour workday, as his focus and attention are not the same in his new day in and day out work-from-home space.
It is all okay. We are enough, and we certainly do enough—even if our inner critic wants to tell us otherwise.
Our inner critic, just like any critical person, usually does not respond to being told to simply “be quiet.” They want to be heard and understood.
My own inner critic often requires some excavation work to understand where she is coming from. It is only after I get to the root that she simmers down and sits down.
For me, if I boil it down, the root often has to do with me believing that “If I don’t do it all right or have all the perfect answers, then no one will love me.” When I say that sentence out loud, it sounds a bit ridiculous. If one of you said that to me, I would think, Of course people will understand that we all screw up and they do not expect you to be perfect. And when the feelings of being unworthy, unloved, of not “enough” arise in me, I take my hand and place it over my heart. I breathe, sit, cry, walk, talk, do whatever it is so that I can be present with my feelings.
Basically, I hear my inner critic and I love her right back. I do not tell her she is crazy. I just love her, thus loving myself with wholehearted compassion and understanding. These times call for crazy, radical self-love—of all parts of ourselves and our messy houses.
Remember we are living in a worldwide crisis. Trust me, whatever you are doing or not doing is plenty.