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Thursday, September 24, 2020

This year has been challenging in so many ways. We have all been required to adapt to the changes that have been thrust upon us. Some days it seems that no matter how much we do, how hard we try, we can’t keep up with all of life’s demands.

I’m reminded of another time when my life was overburdened with stressors. I was trying to recover from a serious auto accident and experiencing daily migraine headaches. I had to put my graduate studies on hold, just when I had nearly all my credits completed. I even had an outbreak of painful shingles!! When my father was hospitalized and needed special care my sister called to ask me why I wasn’t at the hospital and taking care of him. I explained my own injuries and that the hospital would not admit me while I had open shingles sores. I said I would call him and do whatever I could as I was able. Her response was less than helpful.

She complained that I was irresponsible, never did anything for dad and was just making excuses. There was no reason I couldn’t get to the hospital now.

I said, “I’m doing the best I can.”

She said, “That’s not good enough.”

I was stunned to say the least. I started to move into feeling that "I" was not good enough.

Those are very old feelings - and they are miserable.

After taking time to breathe I realized that it didn't have anything to do with my not being good enough. Then I was able to find the real error in her statement. It wasn't about me - it was about her expectations.

So I suggested to her that perhaps she didn’t really understand what “Doing the best I can” really meant. After all, how can I do more when I’m already doing my BEST?

Mr. Rogers says it clearly,

Isn’t that comforting? When things seem overwhelming we don't have to expect more than we are able to do. We can treat ourselves with gentle respect.

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