The other day, I had the good fortune to connect with a dear friend that I had not spoken with in a while. I always feel so good when I spend time with my friends. I am convinced that our best moments in life are spent in the company of people that we love.

We chatted lightly for a while about many things – men, family, children, politics, career – you know, the usual girl stuff. Before we got off the phone, my friend shared with me some distress she was feeling about an area of her life that just wasn’t working out the way she wanted. She felt “absolutely disgusted” with her health. The sound of her voice communicated just how frustrated she had become toward her years-long effort to lose weight. I had been there with her through several failed diet attempts, so I knew first-hand the personal dissatisfaction she felt. One more time her personal effort failed to yield a desirable result. Getting a handle on this area of her life seemed to fall just beyond her grasp. As she relayed her unhappiness, the sense of despair oozed from her voice.

I felt compassion for her. I wished that I could do something to make this challenge go away. What I would not give to be Elizabeth Montgomery from “Bewitched” at that moment?! With a twitch of my nose, I could make any problem go away. (Okay, I’m telling my age…how about Alyssa Milano from “Charmed?”)

Anyway, I encouraged her to stay persistent. “Don’t give up,” I told her. “Your past disappointments are no predictor of your future successes.” But, I knew she wanted solutions. Positive words only reminded her that her personal goal had not yet been attained. Eventually, we ended the conversation. I am not sure I said anything that made a difference, but I remained cheerful and upbeat.

Later that night, I thought about my friend. I know that level of exasperation. I have faced recurrent challenges in my own life where no solution seemed forthcoming. Have you felt this kind of disappointment? Have you ever worked at a stubborn problem for so long that a breakthrough seemed highly unlikely? You hoped for a change but nothing you have tried so far has worked and you have become discouraged.

Maybe you are a smoker, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot quit. Sometimes you are better at controlling it, but you are never completely free. Or, perhaps you compulsively overspend, and no matter how you budget your money, you always end the month with little or no savings. From time to time, you manage to have extra cash on hand but, in general, you live paycheck to paycheck.

What persistent challenge have you been facing but been unable to master?

The truth is that we all have an aspect of our lives that we want to change but have been unable to permanently change. When we think about this aspect and our frustrated efforts to improve it, we may question ourselves: “What is wrong with me?” “Why can’t I get this right?!” We may even berate ourselves. “You idiot! Why can’t you just straighten up and fly right?!” “I do so many other things well. Why does this problem persist?! It just does not make sense!”

Some of my more persistent challenges that I have been unable to permanently eliminate make me feel this way. For example, since high school, I have struggled with being late to events, meetings, etc. And, it really burns me that I cannot seem to drop this habit of lateness. One would think that I would “get over” this bad habit after suffering through some very embarrassing moments caused by my chronic tardiness. Not so.

It does not help that I firmly believe that we create our own experiences. So, now I am doubly disappointed. I am often late. I want to stop being late but I cannot seem to drop this habit and I am the reason that it persists. My Grandma Ellie used to say, “If that don’t beat all?!” With my close friends that know my issue with being late, I will often jokingly ask them, “Excuse me, but can you push me out of my own way?”

When I thought about my conversation with my friend, I recalled how “absolutely disgusted” I have felt when I have shown up late to an important event or meeting. But, I am the thinker that thinks the thought that creates the thing, right? So, who was this woman who thought always being late would be fun? What was going on in her head?

And, then it hit me: The life I am experiencing right now was built thought by thought and word by word by the me of yesterday. And, the life I experience tomorrow will be designed by the me of today.


Right now, in the midst of fussing at and beating myself up about always being late, I am designing my tomorrow. Ugh!!! Could someone please push me out of my own way?! For real this time!

The more I thought about my conversation, the more I realized that I had to develop a different attitude toward this woman who could not seem to stop being late. I mean, for crying out loud, she is the General Contractor in charge my future. If I mistreat her, it will probably impact her design in some way…and probably not a good way. Wow! I have to be pleasant to this person who embarrasses me by routinely showing up late for important events and affairs.

What did Grandma Ellie say? “If that don’t beat all?!”

In the end, I concluded that I have to let it go. So, I do not get everywhere on time. Okay. We spend so much time criticizing ourselves for our mistakes. Let it go. Be gentle with yourself. If you were raising a child who was just learning to walk, how effective do you think it would be to berate the child for falling down? It probably would not get you the result you want and you would probably slow the child’s progress because of all the criticism.

We work the same way. We do not get better when we berate or heap loads of mean-spirited criticism upon ourselves. Just like the child learning to walk, our progress slows. For some of us, we create such a hypercritical environment that our progress grinds to a complete halt.

You actually move faster and better when you speak loving, kind words to yourself. Be very complimentary to the you of today. Think of the baby learning to walk for the first time. Whenever the baby takes one step, everyone around it praises it for that one step.

Apply the praise each step concept to the you of today. For every victory, give yourself a hi-five. Better yet, indulge in a mini-celebration for it. Then, pat yourself on the back, look in the mirror and say these words: “Good job! You did it!”

If I could change the response that I originally gave my friend when she expressed her deep discontent, I would say, “Be kind to the person you are today; for it is she that speaks the words and thinks the thoughts that build your tomorrow.”

Author's Bio: 

Licensed Spiritual Teacher, Writer and Speaker Denise Allen is author/curator of best-selling book The Money Poems™, an extraordinary set of lyrical instructions that were simply created to put anyone who recites them on a path to financial freedom. Allen writes often about abundance, prosperity and true wealth. Follow Allen's blog (A Poem A Day Brings Money My Way!) at