A former therapist caught me every time I used the word, “try” in our sessions. By her measure, I wasn’t allowed to say “try”, “can’t”, “why”, or “fair”. While this was a healthy practice to some degree, and it helped me become more aware of my defeatist vocabulary, I came to my own conclusion that these words are neither bad nor should they be forbidden. They are honest words that represent honest feelings.
I understand where my therapist was coming from, though. If I’m trying to lose weight but I’m sitting on the sofa all day long, I’ll never lose weight. If I’m trying to do the work of healing but I avoid the work of feeling, I won’t gain ground. She was attempting to promote actual movement in my healing process.
While it’s true that at times we may need to try softer and at other times we may need to be more active than the concept conveys, in my mind, not trying = dying.
When someone you love is consumed with anxious thoughts or is spiraling from a fresh and traumatic wound, and they tell you, “I’m trying.”, YOU CELEBRATE THE HECK OUT OF THAT!
“I’m SO proud of you for trying!”
“I know this is so hard but don’t stop trying.”
“Keep trying! Your tomorrow matters.”
Call me overdramatic, but in many of our stories, trying could mean the difference between life and death. Trying might be what keeps us alive.
Life has thrown me some curveballs and I’ve caught myself at times admitting that I’m tired of trying. I’m neither proud of this nor am I ashamed of this. I’ve always been keenly self-aware but acknowledging and feeling this awareness is something fairly new for me. I’m not proud to say I’m tired but it’s the truth. I’m also not ashamed to say I’m tired because it’s the truth. It’s my truth. A nugget of wisdom I paid a lot of money in therapy to learn is that I can’t heal what I don’t feel. Feeling our feelings is exhausting. Healing from our wounds is wearing. But I can’t stop trying.
Trying is hard.
Trying is being willing.
Trying is courage.
I’m utterly convinced that emotional exhaustion easily outweighs physical exhaustion. So, if you ever feel inclined to celebrate the heck out of your or someone else’s ability to get out of bed, to keep stumbling forward, to take one more breath, do it! Please do it! They’re trying.
Trying is worth it.
Trying is life!
So, today, on my 52nd birthday, I’m celebrating the heck out of having the courage to get out of bed. The will to stumble forward. The decision to take one more breath. The tenacity to keep trying. ALL the confetti and streamers! Yay, me!
Are you tired of trying? I hope you will keep at it. I know it’s exhausting and I know it’s hard but we can encourage each another along the way.
Keep trying softer, friend. You are worth it.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
My beautiful and amazingly wise friend, Aundi Kolber, has written a book to be released early in 2020, Try Softer. I highly recommend you pre-order it and while you wait for its release, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Her message of trying softer is a breath of fresh air in our white-knuckled world. Oh, and she’s also a therapist who gives me the grace to embrace the word, “try”. She also gives me, and you, the tools and counsel we need to try softer.
“Trying softer is sacred work. And while it won’t be perfect or easy, it will be worth it. Because this is what we were made for: a living, breathing, moving, feeling, connected, beautifully incarnational life.” ~Amazon
Thanks for sharing this! I don’t think I’ve ever heard this issue addressed before.
It brings back a not-so-pleasant childhood memory of a certain someone commanding me, “Don’t just try; DO IT!” I definitely thought that wasn’t fair. 😔
While there is an element of just doing it that we need to embrace at times, being shamed for trying is not something I’ll buy into anymore. I hope you won’t either. Keep trying!
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