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When you don’t finish everything on your to-do list and more tasks keep piling up, try to be patient with yourself.

When you look tired and your skin feels like sandpaper and you hate the way you look in everything, try to be patient with yourself.

When you get easily distracted or can’t make up your mind, try to be patient with yourself.

When you aren’t grasping a “simple” assignment or lesson or equation or exercise that everyone else completely understands, try to be patient with yourself.

When you’re too exhausted or sad to work or wash the dishes or “be useful” in some other way, try to be patient with yourself.

When you’ve said or done the wrong thing, when your brain is buzzing with too many thoughts, when you’re in a “mood,” try to be patient with yourself.

When you’ve overeaten or undereaten, when just getting up off the couch feels like running a marathon, try to be patient with yourself.

When you feel like you’re the most inadequate or unworthy person in the room or building or on this planet, try to be patient with yourself.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and out of your element, when you’re feeling like you don’t belong, be patient with yourself.

When things aren’t working out, when your body isn’t cooperating, when you’re unsure or you’re anxious, when you’re “too sensitive” or feel alone, be patient with yourself. Try to be understanding. Try to be kind. Try to listen and not judge what you’re feeling and what you’re doing or not doing. Reach out. Ask for help. Talk it out. Take a nap. Give yourself what you need, whether you’ve achieved anything today or not.

You are not a robot. You are not perfect. You don’t need to become a drill sergeant and whip yourself into shape. You don’t need to be punished or to create higher, more stringent standards. You don’t need to repent. You don’t need to criticize yourself. Or to hurl insults. You don’t need to be like anyone else.

You are human. You are fallible, a mistake-maker, deserving of rest and nourishment. And thank goodness for that.

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