Quotes I Like to Live By: Part 2

Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can. 

This is part 2 of my “quotes I like to live by” series. Or “naff motivational quote number 2”. 

If you haven’t yet read Part 1: “Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes” do so now.

“Be Gentle With Yourself, You’re Doing the Best You Can” is the quote that when I first posted it on social media, got retweeted, reposted and shared multiple times. I was surprised at how many people it resonated with. 

Be gentle with yourself. You're doing the best you can.

I had posted it on a day when I was feeling quite frankly like s*. Like I do during a crash, I play around on my phone, scrolling through social media in the vague hope I might find some kind of motivational quote that resonates with me. Nothing came. 

Google to the rescue. I shamelessly googled “chronic illness motivational quotes” and this one was one of the first to appear. 

Why not actually look after myself, and give myself a bit of a break?

It made sense. Why was I forcing myself to keep pushing myself beyond my reasonable limits? Who was saying I had to achieve certain things by certain times? All me. No specific person or thing telling me to be on the go constantly. Why not actually look after myself, and give myself a bit of a break? 

Well it turns out I wasn’t the only one who was in this position. Several others on social media started sharing this quote around too.

Be gentle with yourself. You're doing the best you can.

Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of holding ourselves to higher account than we might do for someone else. We’re all guilty of beating ourselves up in a way that we wouldn’t dare to do to someone we love. 

I’ve always been someone who has set standards at far too high a level than is sensible. Somehow it was a type of perfectionism that only I was the judge of. Somehow if I could just aim for that next target, that next achievement then I would be happy. Well funnily enough, there was never an end to this. I was on a constant treadmill aiming for the next target but not actually at peace with what was going on here and now. 

Therapists over the years have always said the same thing: be kinder to yourself. Slow down. Basically, chill the f** out. (Obviously they didn’t say that last sentence, that’s all me.) I had never really absorbed what they were saying until M.E. reared its ugly head and there was no other option.

Living with M.E. is not just “being tired”, it is a multi-system disorder, referred to by the W.H.O. as a neurological condition. Research has shown a certain type of person is most likely to develop M.E. and it makes sense. Never stopping to look after yourself is going to catch up eventually isn’t it. 

What does being gentle with yourself actually look like?

So, what does being gentle with yourself actually look like?

Being gentle with yourself all comes under self-care which I wrote about a while ago.

Related: Mummying and M.E. – Why Self-Care Is So Important

  • Taking time out each day for yourself. It isn’t impossible to do that, it’s essential. 
  • At the end of each day, pointing out 3 things you were pleased about from that day. 
  • Giving yourself permission to be ill. 

That last one is probably the hardest because it requires one to have actually got to the acceptance stage of an illness, but it really does make a difference. You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone, you don’t have to make excuses for something, nor do you have to try to cover up your illness because of some ableist world we live in. You are allowed to be chronically ill and it isn’t a failure to say that. When you live with several chronic illnesses, you have a lot to contend with. It’s perfectly ok to say you’re doing the best you can. Noone can take that away from you. 

Related: Mummying and M.E. – The 5 Stages of Coming To Terms with a Chronic Illness

It’s been a long road to get to this point, but I like to think I’m much more gentle with myself than ever before. Long may that last. 

What quotes do you like to live by? Comment below.

Until next time, 

mummying and me

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