How to Balance Aspiration with Self-Compassion


It can be easy to beat ourselves up when we keep doing things that get in our own way. Self-repercussion doesn't help us to do better. Yet it is important to hold ourselves accountable. Understanding the path to change helps us navigate this sometimes challenging balancing act.

The following is a lovely poem that addresses the non-linear nature of change. It was written by Portia Nelson, a singer who wrote a book after she survived breast cancer, There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery. I often read this poem to clients when they feel frustrated with the pace of change.

Autobiography in Five Chapters

I.

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I fall in.

I am lost...

I am hopeless.

It isn't my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

II.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don't see it.

I fall in again.

I can't believe I'm in the same place.

But it isn't my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

III.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it there.

I still fall in...it's a habit.

My eyes are open; I know where I am;

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

IV.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

V.

I walk down a different street.

© 2020 by Dr. Lisa Kentgen. 

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