I’ve Been Hard on Myself

Earlier this year, my soulmate-wife-sister Suzanne and I were on the beach in Hawaii. It was early like 6am and she was guiding a meditation for the two of us. At one point, she stopped and prompted me to listen for a word— just one word— that would come as guidance from somewhere deep within me. 

The word that arose was “soft” but I wanted to say something like “power” or “activate” or “manifest.” I was underwhelmed, but I said “soft.” She smiled. Later she told me that she knew the meditation had worked. She knew, based on many of our conversations that week, that I was focused on getting more activated, more driven, more productive. She knew I was imbalanced in that direction, and that what I needed was to be gentle with myself; to relax. When I said “soft” she knew it couldn’t have come from my mind. She knew the meditation had worked—I had channeled a little nugget of guidance for myself. 

That story only resonates with me in retrospect. In the moment the guidance felt useless. But recently it’s popped back up in my mind. It’s happening again. I’m being hard on myself.

Allow me to illustrate. I have a few open tabs on my browser right now. Here are a couple quotes from some of the last articles I read:

“Cycling is a sport notorious for the amount of suffering required. As Tyler Hamilton has said, “I discovered when I went all out, when I put 100 percent of my energy into some intense, impossible task — when my heart was jack-hammering, when lactic acid was sizzling through my muscles — that’s when I felt good, normal, balanced.

Cyclists often refer to “the pain cave,” which is a mental place they go deeper and deeper into as they’re competing. “I went deeper than I thought I would.” “I was at the limit.” “I was totally pinned.” You often hear phrases like these in interviews after a cycling race.”

— Benjamin Hardy in How To Be The Best In The World At What You Do

Good grief.

Or this:

“Do you know anyone that’s really, really competent? Like really, ridiculously competent?

They seem to have a work ethic that’s twice as powerful as yours, they get things done as asked, going “above and beyond” the call of duty almost always, and always within a reasonable time. They come up with creative solutions, or absent that, simply know how to get to a solution to keep the process moving. They keep going when others stop.

They’re Competent, with a capital “C”.

Now ask yourself, regardless of the other traits you like or dislike about them, is that person at risk of losing their job, whatever it may be? Are they at risk of “wallowing in the shallows” in life? Are they at risk of true, debilitating failure? Or are they just getting ahead time and time again?

I’m going to guess the latter.”

—Shane Parrish (Farnam Street Blog) in The Oxygen of Pure Competence

Jesus dude.

And I might not have noticed it if it weren’t for some of your loving, perceptive comments:

On my post about prioritization, James Beard commented: 

“Cory. Be gentle with yourself. You already have the golden ticket.”

On Just Fucking Start, Luuk Moelker said:

“Hi Cory.
As I perceive you, you already radiate freedom, passion and inspiration, just as you are! That is the sensed energy, the energy of already full blown potential!
I also recognize the beauty of wanting to express that fully, but in the meantime, consider that the veil of ‘not living it yet’, is just a veil. It is also drive, it is ‘moving forward,’ becoming, passion into more balance and that is superb.
The words and feelings that you express as I see it are a catalyst to move on, so use it wisely and be passionate about the journey and exploration. I just wanted you to know that the full blast that you want to reach is recognized already in my system! In fact, you could shoot a video where you are in doubt and fear, where you are complaining (lol!) and totally depressed. But even that would not veil the energy you are emanating in such a brilliant way.
What I write is not the spiritual concept that all is already well (I do realize that it can look that way) but it isn’t. I speak from my (our One) heart

❤Your beloved poepgat❤”

and in a Facebook comment on the article I wrote about JealousyBetsy Butterick wrote this:

“…Reading what you wrote has me convinced that not only will YOU make the impact that you’re looking to make, but if you stop and look from where the rest of us are standing, you’ll see clearly that you’ve already arrived.”


It’s true. I had been noticing that most of my articles so far had an undertone of “I’m not quite there yet” — an attitude that perpetuates itself; it prevents ease and confidence and clarity from flowing in. 

The solution wasn’t to fix anything like I had been trying to do. It was to relax— to surrender. To ease up on myself and let my heart move back into the leadership role. 

I was on the phone with Brent Wilkins last night and he reminded me that people like me and him— heart people— we aren’t built for figuring out all the how-to’s. Analysis paralyzes people like us. We’re foolish to follow our brains because our brains are incompetent next to our hearts. Our brains are servants that work best when our heart is powerfully in charge. 

What a relief.

I have a feeling that’s the last time I’ll learn that lesson..

4 thoughts on “I’ve Been Hard on Myself

  1. Patty Fahy

    WHO ARE YOU? Where the heck did you come from?!! I know, more than anyone, I oughtta know the answer to that but sometimes I’m just awestruck and mystified. Thank you for a beautifully written glorious post. Kisses galore.
    yo ma.


  2. petras100

    Hello, Cory! That was exactly what I needed to hear (read) today. Made clear how impatient I am with myself, always thinking I am not there, where I want to be, feeling stuck or thrown backwards. Never really content and always, always expecting more of myself. Thank you, lots of love and be sure that you are a bright light, inspiring many. Petra


  3. Pingback: Being content | Love Life

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