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Let’s talk a little about setbacks, as it’s a conversation I’ve been having with The Morrigan this week. I’ve had some setbacks over the past few years and recently. They aren’t pleasant, and if you are anything like me, they leave you feeling insecure and with questions. I’m working hard to move past this- and it’s gotten better over the years, but during a setback, one of the first things I do is play the self-blame game. It doesn’t matter the reason for the setback- in the case this week, being sick- I blame myself. I obviously didn’t take well enough care of myself to avoid getting sick, I’m not as sick as I feel, I could’ve pushed harder, etc etc.


image is flowers and a sunset with the words "Note to self: Self compassion is a choice."
Choose to show yourself self-compassion.

This is a learned behavior. In the past, failures, delays, missed deadlines and the like were not met with self-compassion- they always been met with feelings of disappointment in myself, and the expectation that I could’ve been better, I could’ve avoided them had I just been more meticulous. I see the successes of others and think “they were better, stronger, more prepared, healthier, luckier…than I am.” Why I compare myself to others, I have no idea- perhaps it’s just an easy thing to focus on.


It doesn’t matter if my friends and family tell me how ridiculous I am being because of course, they are "just being kind." (I mean, I know that's not true, and they are speaking in wisdom where I am not!) In the end, it’s myself that needs to convince me that there are sometimes setbacks that really are beyond my control. And that setbacks are temporary. They might be uncomfortable, but there’s rarely any harm in a setback as long as you keep pushing forward. Eventually, you reach your destination. Being upset about setbacks is normal, but self-depreciation over them is not healthy.


It really is hard to meet your goals when you are physically exhausted, sick, and coughing. I work hard to listen to my body- when I “nap”, it usually tells me something is wrong and that I need rest. Of course, this works well for a day or two, but after a week, I start to get irritated with myself. Heal faster! I'm trying to nourish my body, with nutritious foods, herbs, and fluids. That feeling of wondering how you will catch up when you continue to fall behind each day you are sick is terrifying. And I’m lucky, as I work for myself, and have understanding clients. Also zoom is great, I won’t infect anyone, so long as they don’t mind hearing me cough a whole lot.


I digress a little- the point of this post is that setbacks happen, and it’s ok. There have been times in the past where a setback could potentially break me. I couldn’t handle them very well, and a setback would mean complete failure unless I pulled myself together- and I didn’t always. Now a days, I get reminded. The Morrigan will put her talons in my shoulder and tell me to “calm tf down” when I start getting that anxious “omg I’m going to fail” feeling. Or if I’m being very ungentle with myself, putting myself down (A big fat nope from The Morrigan here- she does not let me do this anymore.) or if I push myself unhealthily.

Image is an blank hobonichi cousin weekly page
My planner last week was empty...

This last week has been very much a period of reminding myself that we’ve worked on this. I hate being sick, I hate coughing, and that feeling of my head being so congested that even looking at a computer screen is dizzying. I had plans, I had my list of goals and things to get done. I have my list of appointments. I need to do X, Y and Z! And instead of a planner with pretty check marks for everything completed, I have a week of blank pages. And it sucks, and it’s frustrating.


But in the end, it’ll all get done once I’m better. I’m lucky cause I do work from home, and I have a great support person to take care of me (or at least, take care of the family so I feel less neglectful! No one starved!) I still have my sense of humor. And while I’m getting better, it’s slow. Too slow, in my opinion, but I don’t seem to be in control of this. In fact, my annual physical is Thursday and I’m turning it into a “ummm, I’m still coughing almost a week and a half later” appointment if I’m still coughing. Which at this point, seems like likely…


It's ok to be annoyed and frustrated at setbacks. And not just ones because you’re sick or there’s something beyond your control happening. Sometimes things just happen, they go awry, you stray off the path. The true problem is when it’s important to you and you don’t get back on the path once you’re able. Yeah, there might be problems coming elsewhere- a boss, friend, family member, a deadline that once past, is done. If it’s important, we find a way, I think, the path might just change. Doors rarely close forever.

Image is a collage of two pictures featuring journeys. It says "Just keep moving forward- embrace the journey, learn from setbacks and let your unwavering determiantion propel you towards the limitless possibilities that away on the horizon."
The destination is the same, it's the journey that can change


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