Day 3


Sometimes when I'm feeling shitty and down and all-the-fails, I pull out a Get-out-of-jail-free card: Gratitude.

Practicing gratitude is simple way to slow down, to look where you're going, and above all, connecting to something larger than yourself as as an individual — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power. Quite simply, it's a way to get the hell out of your own head. 

Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar, suggests happiness is born from gratitude. He puts it like this: how can we find a method that will harness gratitude? How can each one of us find a method for living gratefully, not just once in a while being grateful, but moment by moment gratitude?

It's a very simple method, he says. "It's so simple that it's actually what we were told as children when we learned to cross the street. Stop. Look. Go. That's all."

Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, meditates and writes on "the gentle power" of gratefulness.

Exercise: Write down all the things that you’re grateful for - they can be your family, your friends, your job, your Pilates circle, your Prada shoes, or your collection of Nancy Drew hardbacks. Next to each item, write down why you’re grateful.

A note on practicing gratitude: It's important to honor your meh-feelings. We're not about the Oppression Olympics. For instance, I mostly report on people across the Middle East who are going through unconscionable catastrophic and harrowing times. Sometimes when I'm feeling down, I feel down about feeling down, i.e. "Lauren, get your shit together! You're not living in a tent, for god's sake." This is meta-blame-bullshit, though. Honor your feelings. They're valid. They are real and true and important on your journey to wholeness. Gratitude is simply about keeping things in perspective and remembering/harnessing the tools in front of you. 
Failtastic dispatches from some rockstars in the FailFeed network. Send us yours so we can feast! I'll likely bedazzle them with snap-stickers...
Another self-compassion exercise, courtesy of Dr. Kristen Neif

Think of a situation in your life that is difficult, that is causing you stress. Call the situation to mind, and see if you can actually feel the stress and emotional discomfort in your body.

Now, say to yourself:

1. This is a moment of suffering

That’s mindfulness. Other options include:

  • This hurts.
  • Ouch.
  • This is stress.

2. Suffering is a part of life

That’s common humanity. Other options include:

  • Other people feel this way.
  • I’m not alone.
  • We all struggle in our lives.

Now, put your hands over your heart, feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle touch of your hands on your chest. Or adopt the soothing touch you discovered felt right for you.

Say to yourself:

3. May I be kind to myself

You can also ask yourself, “What do I need to hear right now to express kindness to myself?” Is there a phrase that speaks to you in your particular situation, such as:

  • May I give myself the compassion that I need
  • May I learn to accept myself as I am
  • May I forgive myself
  • May I be strong.
  • May I be patient

This practice can be used any time of day or night, and will help you remember to evoke the three aspects of self-compassion when you need it most.

What the heck is The Fail Feed?
The Fail Feed is the baby [parent] of Foreign Policy Interrupted, an initiative to amplify female foreign policy voices.

For the past few years, FPI has been mentoring and training some of the world’s brightest and most accomplished women to interrupt the conversations we have about that world.

But I (co-founder Lauren Bohn, a recovering perfectionist) soon realized that before we could do that, we'd first need to interrupt the conversations we tell ourselves.

We’ve heard it time and time again. We've received countless emails from high-profile, hugely successful and talented women (and men): social media’s endless torrent of mediated, filtered moments of triumph and “success,” regularly throws them down spirals of self-doubt. Highlight reels have distorted our self-worth. We too often compare our insides to other people’s manufactured outsides.

Before we can meaningful contribute to society and live out our purpose, we must reclaim our self-worth. In short, we need to start getting real.

In that spirit, we want The Fail Feed to be a much-needed unfiltered space to share and feast in our vulnerabilities and failures. Rejection letters, fuck-ups, panic attacks, fears, tears -- let’s talk about them, let's share them, let's feast on them. They’re not the opposites of success. They’re crucial parts of success.

Most of all, we want FF to be in service of you -- your work and your dreams. Tell us what you're lacking in today's 24/7 content frenzy. Tell us want you want to see and hear. Tell us what you want to learn. We're not sure exactly what FF will become, but we're leaning into our vulnerability and getting the conversation started. Join us. 

Talk to us.
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