What do we do with those irritating things about ourselves that we can't change?
Instead of weaknesses, read them as: "Things that make me interesting, real, endearing, and relatable." To anyone who has been following you for a while, those so-called weaknesses are part of the magic.
Sarah, thank you for admitting your “weakness” about publishing consistently. I am subscribed to your newsletter and have not noticed the inconsistency. I simply enjoy your work when it shows up for me. Then I had an “aha” moment: perhaps consistency isn’t as important as I had thought.
How many people even know what day and time I publish Primrose Ponderings? Probably only my boyfriend because he is my editor… but sometimes I think even he forgets! I realized that I have been stressing over something that is probably not that important. So… thank you for giving me options that I hadn’t ever considered: skipping a week or delaying my newsletter for a few days if I feel that I need more time.
In other news, you and I have a similar interest in books, it seems! :) For that reason, I’ll suggest that you might enjoy the book “Hyperfocus” by Chris Bailey, if you haven't read it already. That book illuminated for me the relationship between focus and creativity — that is, hyper focusing and scatter focusing are opposites and we all need to be able to do both. Most importantly, the book made me feel better about my inability to focus and gave me some tips for when I needed to really buckle down (e.g., to get a newsletter out on time).
Finally, I’ve taken StrengthsFinder and my Top 5 Themes are Futuristic, Competition, Strategic, Significance, Focus. I took this is 2011, though, and I wonder if they change over time. Notably, since I’ve retired from my corporate job, I feel less focused (or perhaps I have less need to be focused); and over the past several years, I’ve become increasingly less competitive.
I’m not sure that Focus was ever truly one of my Top 5. I feel so much more relaxed now that I’m retired and can work at my own pace. I was very focused in my corporate job probably because I was driven by the fact that I grew up poor and had decided that I didn’t want to be poor as an adult. ;) I did what I had to do in the corporate world, but that is not my preferred way of being.
Lovely message to start the new week. I too, struggle with consistency. Not for others, interestingly enough but for myself. This year I finally completed the 100 day challenge. It was hard but I did it. That kind of buoyed me along to tackle a few other things. And I am learning.
I went through the "I'm cured!" revelation too, though mine came after a year or two on meds. I've come to the realization that my illness would very likely have left me confined to some kind of "home" back in the days of yore, so I'm thankful for the medications, even though they're not perfect.
I've already moved on to bifocals--"right on schedule," according to my optometrist. They're not so terrible, though the original configuration I went through--computer/reading bifocals, rather than distance/reading bifocals--was a poor choice. I keep having to switch glasses to read things when I'm out and about. I'll be correcting this soon.
I've also been having a lot of trouble getting myself to write, though I'm great at getting myself to do just about anything else. I'm using NaNo this year as a "write 50k words of anything" challenge rather than trying to write anything coherent. I just need to get back into the practice of sitting down to write.
-- Another Sarah (numberlessdreams)
You are so hard on yourself. Why don’t you call the newsletter a monthly newsletter which sometimes comes out more often than once a month. It’s all perspective!
Sarah, I’ve been reading and listening to your work for years and I never comment, but I have to say this newsletter hit home for me so hard I was nearly moved to tears. I really needed to hear the wisdom you had to share here. I’m learning to how to live in the paradox of holding on and letting go, both as a writer and as a human. It’s easy to feel like I should be able to just fix my own problems with consistency and time management (classic ADHD showing up again), and therefore easy to beat myself up for all of my failings. I am struggling with a soul-sucking day job that doesn’t pay enough, looking for new work, caring for chronic pain, and navigating treatment for newly diagnosed Bipolar 2. So, this was a good reminder that this is all a lot, and that’s okay. (And that medications are just tools, too!) I don’t need to “patch over the holes and pretend they never existed”. I’m not going to be fixed, but I do have tools to help me get on. Today, your newsletter was one of those tools. Thank you so much for sharing.
Great post, Sarah. Once again you have captured the feelings we all have about ourselves - flawed and imperfect, but human. Realizing our shortcomings, whether real or perceived, can make us feel like we have failed to live up to our expectations. But it is in accepting those flaws, yet staying true to who we are, that is the real challenge. We need to remind ourselves that it is okay not be be perfect and that we can still be productive and loving members of our family and society, regardless of how hard we are on ourselves.
Sarah, all we can do is our best given our current circumstances. Regardless of critics and eyebrow raisers (internal or external) we own and are accountable for our will...and our wisdom. It sounds to me that you are grounded in both. Thank you for choosing to share. I was helped today, both by your writing and by others' replies. :)
Incredibly relatable. What a beautiful reminder that self-forgiveness is often just as important as the grace we give to others, thank you for sharing!
You’re awesome, Sarah! Your warm words of encouragement to all creators were some of the first I listened to when I took up writing a few years ago. Love your podcast and newsletter whenever it shows up! Anyway, I like to think of those moments when my routine/systems shift as my practice evolving. What worked in the past doesn’t always stick, and that’s fine! Some of my favorite writerly advice is: don’t say anything to yourself you wouldn’t say to another writer. You bring a lot to the creative community however you show up. Don’t forget it!❤️
"Amidst all the striving for self-improvement, it’s easy to overlook the good things we do. The progress we make. And accept that we’re not moving toward “perfect” — we’re moving toward true."
I love this.
I relate to a lot of what other's have commented here, so I won't be a broken record. But, at this point in my life, I'm in a state of "I'm too overwhelmed to care about the things I *think* I need to change about myself."
Just before the pandemic lockdowns, my therapist at the time asked if I could accept myself just as I am—enough. She had me say, "I am enough," in session. I said it, but I didn't believe it then.
I'm sure most of us go through identity struggles and feeling not-enough, but my "come-to-Jesus" moment was discovering, and subsequently getting diagnosed as Autistic just shy of my 35th birthday. I've always leaned on labels to try to understand others, but was grateful to have one that helped me understand myself. And, especially in Autistic AFABs, for gender-nonconforming Autists and for late-diagnosed (or undiagnosed) Autistics, in general, regular identity struggles are simply a part of our neurology. Learning that has helped me beyond words! Yes, I still validate the moments of struggle, but I feel more comfortable and confident with myself, knowing that my brain just does this. It's that simple. There's nothing "bad" or "wrong" about or with me. I *am* enough, just as I am. If I want to improve something, it's for me and it's when I can focus on it, unlike before when I'd stop everything to fix something that made me less societally acceptable.
Additionally, I recall reading that only really smart people question themselves, so, look at us. 😉 Whatever I need to tell myself to feel better works for me! But, seriously, you're clearly a wise person. Maybe it's just a part of the journey.
All my best,
Thanks for sharing! Thanks for showing up today and giving me something to relate to and learn from. Thanks for a reminder I needed - just when I needed to hear it.