I like to consider myself well-educated in the “personal growth” genre of literature. I’ve read books on meditation, love languages, and mindsets. I enjoy learning about the science behind habits and how to embrace our productive impulses while rewiring our negative ones. I also pride myself on being a Konmari enthusiast WAY before there was a docuseries on Netflix…I’ve been sparking joy since 2014.
Years and years of reading about how to efficiently run my home or how to interact with the world around me has led to some great nuggets of wisdom that help me “be the very best version of myself.” (Has Rachel Hollis trademarked that phrase yet? Just in case, I figured I should give her some credit since that’s, like, her whole thing.)
For every catchphrase that truly speaks to me, however, there are ten more that just DO NOT work in my life.
Please don’t be offended if these are written on the coffee mug you’re holding right now or calligraphed across your favorite notebook. I have the mugs and the notebooks, too; there’s just something different written on them.
I’m just speaking my truth.
You do you, Momma.
1.) Give Yourself Grace
I’ve been reading a lot about how it’s important to give ourselves grace. Give yourself grace if the dishes aren’t done or if your kids watched too much YouTube yesterday. Be kind to yourself if you didn’t accomplish everything you wanted to or if you feel like you’re falling short as a mom/wife/friend. At first, I thought allowing myself grace sounded pretty important. It’s a lovely sentiment that allows us to just be okay with where we are right now and to foster some much needed self-love. It just didn’t work for me.
For a while I was using the phrase “give yourself grace” as an excuse to be lazy. I’d sit on the couch binging shows on Netflix during the day and then at 9 p.m. give myself grace when there was a sink (and counter) full of dirty dishes. I gave myself grace when we picked up pizza even though we had everything we needed to cook dinner at home. There was grace when I forgot about the letter my husband needed mailed and when I chose to stay home and do nothing instead of going to the Children’s Museum with my daughter.
For me, there was such a thing as too much grace.
Now, I give myself conditional grace.
Grace based on effort.
If I spent the afternoon reading with my son instead of cleaning out the refrigerator: GRACE. If I scrolled Facebook instead of tackling the laundry monster: NO GRACE. Sticky floors but laughing with my husband: GRACE. Not texting a friend on her birthday: NO GRACE. Sending her a card a week later: Some grace.
If I’m proud of the energy I put forth that day to run my household, raise my babies, connect with my husband, and maintain my friendships, I give myself grace. If I phoned it in that day, I call myself out on it and make a plan to be better tomorrow. I try to balance my grace with some in-your-face-perspective, and I’ve found that it was equally important to be both easier and harder on myself. Confusing? Yes. Necessary? Also, yes.
2.) Never Miss A Monday
I try to intentionally move my body most days a week. Some days that’s a sweaty 4-mile run and other days it’s some really deep stretching while watching an episode of Parks & Rec. There are tons of memes and inspirational quote t-shirts shouting “Never Miss A Monday!” and they all revolve around the importance of your Monday workout. To me, there’s just nothing special about a Monday. I’m a stay at home mom and all of my days are a little blend-y, so getting a workout in on the first day of the week just isn’t crucial to my fitness goals.
To hold myself accountable and make sure that my occasional Monday misses don’t turn into Tuesday and Wednesday misses too, I track how many times I work out during the month. It doesn’t matter if I’m spending an hour on the treadmill or getting in a 20 minute Yoga flow–my goal is only to get my overall workout number as high as possible. Instead of saying, “Never Miss a Monday!” my t-shirt would say, “Workout As Much As Possible & Try To Do It More Than Last Month,” but I get that’s not very catchy. *winkey face emoji*
3.) Don’t Just Survive, THRIVE!
Nope, I’m good. I’m totally fine with simply surviving right now. I often see this quote on social media, and while I know it’s meant to inspire, it just makes me feel inadequate and guilty that I don’t have some bigger goal. I want to feed my children, get places on time (bonus points if I’m showered), remember to put the homework in the backpack, and laugh more than I yell.
This may come down to semantics, and your definition of thriving may look like what I just described, but to me “thriving” means pushing to do more, be more, dream more. I don’t want the pressure of more. I want peaceful survival, and that can be just as beautiful as striving for something bigger. I prefer “It’s a good day for a good day.” Good: it doesn’t have to be spectacular. Survive it. Bonus points if you’re showered.
So tell us: what are some phrases you live by and the ones you can you live without?