Beeeeep beeeeep. My alarm clock chimes in the silence of the still-dark room where I’m curled between a human and a dog, practically sweating in the warmth of the thick blankets. I groan inwardly. Though I somehow managed to head to bed earlier than I thought I would, the 4:30 alarm feels like my head just hit the pillow. I’m exhausted. I’m cranky. I’m already getting stressed. And I’m frustrated at myself for feeling all these things.
I’m human, but I’m always so quick to forget that. Always so quick to beat myself up for all the ways that I’m imperfect.
I’m running on six hours of sleep, but of course I expect myself to jump out of bed, eager to start the day. My body’s craving another hour of sleep, or maybe even two, but of course I’m already punishing myself for not being excited about heading to the gym or starting my work day. Instead of listening to what I need, I’m already stressing about the ever-growing to do list, so much so, that even if I try to will myself back to sleep, I can’t. My mind’s already racing—and there goes the gentle, peaceful morning—I am awake, I am stressed, I am exhausted.
I am human, so why can’t I give myself the grace to be imperfect?
Half of the time it’s the same routine: fall asleep too late, wakeup too early, get frustrated when my eyes can barely open as the alarm goes off. Just go to bed earlier, my mom says. But that’s impossible when you’re running around, trying to get things done. Sleep in, my boyfriend encourages me, You deserve it. But what he doesn’t understand is that by the time he leaves for work, I’m already swamped. And my whole day is off to a bad start.
But maybe it’s not about always changing, fixing, overthinking until I’m blue in the face. Maybe the key is being gentle with myself and remembering my humanness.
We each have our struggles, don’t we? We each have things that drive us crazy, leave us tired, or make us imperfect. Regardless of how hard we try, or all the things we try to line up, there are still moments when we don’t jolt out of bed with the first ring of the alarm. Mornings when we try our best to wake up renewed, and still feel exhausted and unworthy.
But how often are these ‘failures’ reminders to slow down, to take care of ourselves, to remember (and celebrate) who we are—imperfection and all? How many times are we beating ourselves up for simply being human, and not physically capable of having it together all the time?
I am a morning person, but sometimes I can’t lift my head from the pillow. Sometimes I need a little push, a few more minutes of sleep, a sip of hot tea. Sometimes I need a kick in the booty, sure. But sometimes I need a little self-love, a pat on the back, a reminder that even if I’m not doing everything, I’m still doing alright.
We forget about our humanness when we’re too busy focusing on our imperfection first. We forget that who we are as people isn’t, and shouldn’t be, chalked up to our mistakes or times we’ve fallen short. We’re so quick to ridicule ourselves, measure our successes on a superhuman scale—but who, really, has it all together? Who is matching up to these unrealistic standards we hold ourselves to?
The answer? No one.
This morning I reset my alarm for an extra twenty minutes, then another five, and then, as I lay there looking at the ceiling and attacked myself for not being enough, I realized that the negativity wasn’t getting me anywhere. So what if I went later? So what if I didn’t start my workday for another hour? So what if my plans failed and my body said ‘no’ to my best-laid plans?
Would the world end? Would my company fail? Would my entire life become less valuable? No.
We have to stop beating ourselves up for the things that make us human, for being tired, for not finishing the to-do list, for not being a superhero and getting up at the crack of dawn. The world is so tough on us already, so let’s not make enemies of the skin and soul we’re in. We are enough.
Let’s build ourselves up, let’s give ourselves grace, let’s forgive and let go and continue—even after we snoozed the alarm a few times.
Featured Image Credit: Vika Fleisher