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One of the strangest things I’ve realized lately is how much of a “nag” I’ve been — not to others, but to myself. It’s how I get things done. I nag myself until I finish a task or fix what needs fixing, like an internal alarm clock that keeps ringing until I’ve finally woken up (annoying, but functional).
But after years of living like this, something inside me just decided to shut down.
It was one of those days when I was acutely aware of what was wrong in my life and what needed fixing, so I made an action plan and started reading books/articles that I thought might help me (sounds nutty, I know, but that’s me). For the first time, however, the process was far from empowering.
Usually confronting my “issues” head-on brings me satisfaction, but this time it was hardly enriching. I was like a little child who couldn’t take her medicine; I kept spitting it out. Every dose of self-help literature I tried to shove down my throat made me feel drained, and every goal I tried to write made me feel so exhausted.
Finally it dawned on me: maybe I didn’t want this. Maybe I just wanted to be human for a sec rather than be treated like a piece of machinery in need of repair. Maybe I didn’t want to be “fixed” right away or told that I needed “changing”, but just needed compassion and acceptance in whatever state I was in. Maybe I didn’t need to prod myself with a stick and pass judgment over myself all the time; maybe I just needed room to be.
And this doesn’t just come with nagging oneself, but with nagging others.
It’s enlightening to realize that before all that fixing, correcting, and improving, every human being first needs Love, Patience, Understanding, and Acceptance. Throw that into the mix, and the recipe is golden.
It’s the recipe to Compassion.
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