A simple phrase to tack on to hard thoughts
This article is cross-posted from my weekly newsletter, The Sunday Soother, a newsletter about clarity, intention, and useful tips for creating more meaning in your life that goes out every Sunday morning. Subscribe here. I am also a coach who teaches you mindfulness and thoughtful self-reflection so you can stop second-guessing yourself, make decisions confidently and live the life you’ve always dreamed of. You can learn more about working with me here.
Happy Sunday, friends. Last weekend, I was recording my Sunday Soother podcast, in a semi-state of pique. I had been working hard all week to launch my Intentional Living course, I’d had some other stuff going on, and the podcast was sort of bottom of the barrel to-do list type stuff. But I was going to get it done because I! Am! A! Getter! Doner!
(You know the type.)
After half-heartedly recording the podcast for about 30 minutes (though half-hearted, I think it was still a pretty good episode) and hitting the stop button, Audacity flashed up an error sign with a dire announcement: parts of my audio, for some mysterious reason, had not been stored correctly, and half the podcast had disappeared.
I spent a good solid 5 minutes fuming, smashing buttons and cursing Audacity’s name to the high heavens.
“I spent all that time on this week’s episode and it didn’t even save and I’m too tired and don’t have time to record another one!” I wailed to myself.
And then suddenly, my brain came up with a brilliant phrase all of its own accord. “And that’s okay,” it soothed me.
Something about the phrase immediately lowered my hackles. “I spent all that time on this week’s episode and it didn’t even save and I’m too tired and don’t have time to record another one… and that’s okay.”
And I realized, duh, it was okay. Simply something about tacking that phrase on to the original negative thought calmed me and made it extra evident that things were not dire.
I wrote in this week’s Wednesday Wisdom (my Patreon newsletter about compassionate personal development) about a thought model I learned recently that’s changed my ability to have a more resilient mind and counter negative thoughts. Part of the model involves changing a “negative” thought to a more positive one. But in some cases, it may be a bridge too far to change a thought like “I’m struggling at my job” to “I’m SO GOOD at my job!!!”
So I introduced the concept of bridge thoughts. A bridge thought is something that’s not SO negative, yet, not out of the realm of possibility for you to think, but inches you closer to a positive mindset.
And adding “…and that’s okay” can be a powerful way to create a bridge thought.
“I’m struggling at my job… and maybe that’s okay.”
“I’m feeling really down right now… and that’s okay.”
“I’m not sure I know what to do here… and that’s okay.”
“I’m irritated and annoyed right now… and that’s okay.”
It’s not a permission slip or a Pollyanna-esque fake cheer approach. I find adding “and that’s okay” to any “negative” thought is actually super powerful and helps you take back some control from that negative thought running the rest of your day. It just gives you… some breathing room. A soft hand on your shoulder. A glimmer of self-compassion.
Try it out today. What is your, “…and that’s okay” thought for this week? I’d love to hear.