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A Few Simple Words

The week before last, I had my wallet stolen (or lost? …who can ever be sure). This was the second time this happened in three months. I had just taken out cash, so yeah, in addition to everything else, I lost 100+ dollars. 

for a reason simple words

I have no idea what happened, and I’m not going to spend any more time trying to rationalize it or retrace my steps. And I’m not going to spend any more time having a pity party for myself in front of you lovely people. Point is, after this happened, I went into a very dark place.

I immediately lodged myself into a mind state of, “I always do this.” “Why does this always happen to me?” “I’m always so stupid.” I’ve been losing things all my life – I’m known for it. So there is a lot of rationale to back up those detrimental voices. 

But rationale or not, you simply can’t stay in this place. You cannot go back and change the past. There is no point in continuing to sit in the pains and sludge of a mistake made. So after I let myself have a day or two of darkness and lament, I had to start choosing better words

I’ve talked about simplicity before. With food… with routine… but it has just as much power when it comes to words.  Yes, you could listen to a half our Ted Talk or inspirational speech or read all sorts of lengthy lavish quotes about how to pick yourself up. But for me, nothing has as much power in its ability to change my mindset as just a few simple words. If you can find two.. three.. simple words that sink straight down into your gut and you know exactly what they mean to you, your mind and heart will know what to do with them. 

These are some of the simple words that I have found hold enormous power in shifting my mindset when I am having a hard time finding compassion or moving on from negativity.

A Few Simple Words

 

“I made a mistake.” (4 words) 

If you know that you made a mistake, there is no point denying it or telling yourself otherwise. There is no point in pointing fingers elsewhere. Because its okay. We, as humans, make mistakes. There is no shame in it. The only shame lies in if one does not care about the mistake made or they choose to not try and learn from it. Speaking the truth to a situation can actually lighten the burden I am feeling. It enables me to clear the sludge infront of me so I can move on and see what can be learned

 

“I tried.” (2 words)

Again, if you know this to be true, you need to give yourself the credit.  If you did try, then the outcome was out of your control.

This is not to be confused with making exuses for yourself. This is for when you sincerely tried your best at something but you didn’t win, you weren’t chosen, you weren’t offered a response etc.  Give yourself credit. 

 

“I didn’t know.” (3 words)

If you truly did not know something, how could you have acted/spoken differently!? We can’t go back and tell ourselves what we learned after the fact. We only have where are minds were at at that present moment. 

 

“Its what I wanted.” (4 words)

Speaking of the present moment – we are always striving to live, “in the moment,” are we not?  So how can we berate ourselves for doing something when – in that moment – it was what we truly wanted? If you were feeling something in that moment, then it should be celebrated that you followed your impulse. If it did not turn out as planned or something went wrong, this was not something you could have foreseen. You did what you wanted to do. 

 

“What will make me happy?” (5 words)

When I’m feeling really down.. maybe lonely or unsure or I don’t have a concrete plan… stopping to actually ask myself these simple words brings me into a place of compassion. It can feel fragile, but that is the work. 

 

“What one thing…” (3 words)

“What one thing can I do?” I find asking myself this simple question is especially helpful when I am feeling anxious or unable to focus or have a million little to do list tasks flittering in and out of my brain –  making me freeze up.  Stop, close your eyes, ask yourself these few words, and focus your day on this. 

 

“It sucks.” (2 words)

Yup. Sometimes this feels like a massive understatement. I wanted to lash out any time someone said this after I lost my wallet (“It more than sucks!! It….”). But its the truth. It can really, really, really suck… but it still just – sucks.  And you must validate it. Don’t try to win toughest martyr of the year award.  Saying it for what it is puts it out into the open and internally reminds you that, even though it sucks, it will pass

 

“I am learning.” (3 words)

We are forever learning. We are forever making “mistakes,” and doing things that we later wish we had done differently. It sucks. Its a hard part of life. But it is inevitable. When I do something that ends up with results I find difficult to accept, I tell myself these three simple words. Then I can stop looking at the past and, instead, look forward. With a new, gentle tool in my toolbox. 

 

The Power of a Few Simple Words. #imadeamistake #acceptance #compassion Click To Tweet

 

Simplicity is powerful. I find anything more than even a few words begins to lose its strength.  I began thinking about these simple words as I was picking myself out of my slump the other week, and now I’m thinking them Out Loud with Amanda

 

Thinking-Out-Loud2

 

What simple words or phrases do you use to change your mindset? Do any of these work for you?

 

47 COMMENTS

  1. chasetheredgrape | 24th Mar 16

    I really do have to remind myself at times that “I tried my best” – knowing I gave 100% to something means that whatever the outcome, it’s ok. And whenever I make mistakes I always make sure I learn from them and move on.
    I often remind people (and myself) not to dwell on the past – we cannot change it. The present is so much more exciting!
    And major bummer on losing your wallet – it’s such a nightmare when that happens, regardless of how it happened.

    • Cora | 24th Mar 16

      If you tried your best then there really is no reason to feel down about yourself.
      I think we can allow ourselves a short bit of dwelling – we are human after all – but only so that we can then kick ourselves in the butt and focus on whats next.

  2. Hollie | 24th Mar 16

    Sorry to hear about your wallet…that definitely stinks. Personally, I know the feeling of reminding myself that tried your best. There have been plenty of situations I’ve had to remind myself…we all make mistakes.

    • Cora | 24th Mar 16

      Exactly. If we tried our best there is really nothing more we could have done. And even though we may feel lil its only us, every single one of us has these moments.

  3. SuzLyfe | 24th Mar 16

    Love this. Sorry about the wallet and the circumstances! Sometimes, you just have to say, “Ok, What’s Next?” and move forward. And, as blunt as it is to say: “It is what it is”
    SuzLyfe recently posted…Subjective Race Pacing Strategies and ConclusionMy Profile

    • Cora | 24th Mar 16

      “It is what it is”…. I like it. It makes me feel, not pessimistic, but accepting, and tells myself to just move on.

  4. Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy | 24th Mar 16

    Aw, Cora, so sorry to hear about your wallet. I think my favorite phase I tell myself to help cope with frustration/downs/sadness, etc. are “It could be worse, at least I have….” and remind myself of what I do have (a possession, a memory, something to look forward to). And like you mentioned at the beginning of this post, I truly believe that things happen for a reason – whatever that reason is (sometimes we just need a wake up call!)
    Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy recently posted…A Peek Into a Dietitian’s Grocery Cart (+ ALDI giveaway!)My Profile

    • Cora | 24th Mar 16

      Its funny. I find telling myself this really helps… a few days after the fact. In the moment, its like I just want to feel like this IS the worst thing that could happen so let me be upset! Aha. Obviously that only lasts a short while and then I need to come out of my temper tantrum and realize that, yes, it could have been worse and I still have a lot to be grateful for.

  5. Kate | 24th Mar 16

    Oh man. I am the type of person who would lose my head if it wasn’t attached, so I totally feel you! I always say “I should’ve known better” or “why do I suck?”. However, while it’s a crappy situation and sometimes we just got to move on. (what I tell myself)
    You are so right that sometimes just giving a few words to our emotions can help us to feel immensely better. “That was my bad” is sometimes just what I need to say. Then I move on!
    Kate recently posted…On the pressure for beautyMy Profile

    • Cora | 24th Mar 16

      As much as I hate to hear you deal with this “losing syndrome,” too… its rather nice to know I’m not the only one. After 20 some years of losing absolutely everything, I’ve basically come to accept its just part of my life.
      I LOVE “that was my bad.” I feel like not enough people actually own up to when something was their mistake, but denying it causes me so much more discomfort. Saying it out right just means everyone can move on. No big deal.

  6. Julie @ Running in a Skirt | 24th Mar 16

    These are such good phrases. A big one in my house is “I made a mistake.” It helps the other person forgive you.
    So sorry about your wallet.
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Parmesan Roasted CarrotsMy Profile

    • Cora | 24th Mar 16

      Its amazing how much lightness both sides of the party can feel when someone just says, “I made a mistake.” Both the person who made it, and the other person will undoubtably just come to forgiveness. When you don’t deny it, everyone can just move on and move forward. Thank you 🙂

  7. Amanda @ .running with spoons. | 24th Mar 16

    Sorry to hear about your wallet, lady 🙁 That definitely sucks, but definitely don’t beat yourself up over it. We all make mistakes, and we’re all -allowed- to make mistakes — it’s part of being human. Be kind to yourself and don’t expect perfection <3

    I think one of the main simple things I remind myself of is that "this too shall pass." If I'm ever going through a hard time, it's nice to remember that things won't always be that way.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…secrets, nightmare come to life, and mini is better (ToL#175)My Profile

    • Cora | 24th Mar 16

      Ah my mom tells me that one all the time. It does help. It doesn’t mean the present moment is not hard… but it does offer some comfort to know that, soon, it will not feel so heavy. Thanks Amanda.

  8. Jessie @ The Acquired Sass | 24th Mar 16

    That wallet business sucks. Big time. I can definitely relate to “This sucks”. But I usually add a few more words I shouldn’t type out in there…

    One that works for me on the opposite end of the spectrum is “I can do this”. I use it a lot when I’m running & just feel like I don’t have any more left in the tank, but it pretty much works for anything. I know I can do it. If I decide I will & just chip away at it.

    • Cora | 24th Mar 16

      Oh I’m definitely with you on the added “decorative” words… I would have added some in here but they didn’t exactly go with my “just a few” concept :).
      I love it. Simple and fierce. “I can do it”. It brings me into an awareness knowing who I am and that makes me feel stronger, too.

  9. Gail | 24th Mar 16

    In addition to “ancora imparo”, I have two phrases. “Stay calm, be brave, wait for the signs” which is from an old CBC radio show, Dead Dog Cafe. And the other, “if this happened to my friend, what would I say?”

    • Cora | 24th Mar 16

      “… wait for the signs.” I think I love this even more so recently as I’ve been seeing more and more that the world really does offer me signs, or messages, when something is right. I just need to open myself to hear them. I need to start using your second one. I’ve never been able to get myself to truly ask/answer it – like its a block I have. Or if I do, I usually don’t let myself act on it :(.

  10. Emily Swanson | 24th Mar 16

    :(( I’m sorry about your wallet Cora. WE do make mistakes, and I am so thankful that we can confess our mistakes, failures to God and be forgiven through the Lord Jesus every day. <3 That phrase, 'I am learning,' is so powerful for me, but hard to say sometimes.
    Emily Swanson recently posted…Brussels: Light in the DarknessMy Profile

    • Cora | 26th Mar 16

      It is VERY hard to say sometimes. But I think its one of the most powerful, compassionate things we can tell ourselves. We are all in it together – mistakes and all.

  11. Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood | 24th Mar 16

    Looovee this post. I’m definitely known for getting myself into a funk. It’s crazy how just a few words to yourself ca change your outlook entirely. Also, sorry to hear about the wallet. I’m “that” person too, losing all of my things all the time. I’m very fortunate in that I’ve gotten a lot of them back – no lie once I lost (okay, I’m pretty sure someone stole it and then returned it after they saw my epic meltdown…) engagement ring at the gym. But a few days later I got it back!
    Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood recently posted…Create a Nursery in Your BedroomMy Profile

    • Cora | 26th Mar 16

      Oh wowwwwwww. Well am I ever glad to hear you later got it back!! Its so hard to lose things – not to mention something as hugely important as that. I wish we were all born with little memory replay vision where we could just go back and see where the bloody thing was left.

  12. Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar | 24th Mar 16

    Wow. I love this post, Cora. I have a really hard time keeping track of my stuff–like, my physical stuff–as well as organizing my life, remembering deadlines, being on time to things….and, yes, I’m constantly beating myself up about. So on top of the stress of being like, “Okay, I lost my keys or whatever and now I have to deal with it,” there’s also the stress of feeling like I’m a terrible person.
    One time I called my mom and said, “I lost my [I can’t remember what]. I feel like a complete failure.” And my mom said, “You’re not a failure. You just have a difficult time keeping track of small personal items.” So that’s a mantra I use sometimes. I just try to put the thing in perspective. “I’m not a failure. I just lost track of time and was five minutes late to class.” There are much bigger problems in life.
    I love the mantras that you’ve shared here! I like the simplicity of “I made a mistake.” It was a mistake, but it’s over and past. Can’t go back. I also really like the idea of thinking of “What one thing can I do.” That allows you to move on, say, “I did something to try to manage the situation, and I can move on now.” (Easier said then done…but so, so necessary)
    Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: Why Re-Testing FODMAPs is HardMy Profile

    • Cora | 26th Mar 16

      Wow your experience, including your call to your mom could be taken right out my life story book. Your mother is extremely wise. It can be so hard to not feel like a failure when we are “always” losing track or losing things. She hit the nail on the head.
      All we can really do is try and learn from each experience and continue to move forward. These mantras just remind me that the only choice I have is to move on. Its really hard. But I’m slowly getting better.

  13. Heather@hungryforbalance | 24th Mar 16

    I’m so sorry about your wallet. That sucks(it does!!), but you are so right in what you say here!!!
    Cora, you have such an amazing ability to cut through the BS and get to the heart of things.
    3 words- you are amazing.

    • Cora | 26th Mar 16

      Thanks, Heather. I think honesty really is the key to all wellbeing. Its hard work and takes practice, but I’m slowly learning.

  14. katalysthealth | 24th Mar 16

    Wow – this is a really beautiful way of handling something rough. I love how you took a sort of bad and upsetting situation and used it as a lesson, not just for yourself but for us as well <3
    katalysthealth recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #78My Profile

    • Cora | 26th Mar 16

      Thanks, Kat. I hope others may be able to find some words that help them in these situations as they help me.

  15. Ellie | 25th Mar 16

    I recently read a post about saying sorry. People really say sorry too much. Instead of saying that phrase, it was advised to change the tone of the language. For example, instead of saying “Sorry I’m late.” Say “Thank you for being so patient.” This post reminded me of that. Bad things happen, but the power of a simple few words can change that situation really quickly. Great post Cora <3
    Ellie recently posted…Running Rambles #10 [The Amazing Human Body]My Profile

    • Cora | 26th Mar 16

      YES YES YES. Actually, this is something I have consciously been putting into practice for probably a year now. I’ve kind of made myself a pact to not say sorry for anything I’m not actually sorry for. I feel it degrades our own strength – like we are consistently telling ourselves subconsciously that we aren’t deserving of space. It makes me feels much stronger and deserving when I simply change my “sorry” to something more confident. Doesn’t have to be anything prudent. “Thank you for being patient” is such a perfect example. Thanks for sharing Ellie!

  16. gracefulcoffee | 25th Mar 16

    So sorry to hear about your wallet, Cora! These words are a wonderfully positive approach to a negative situation. Thanks for sharing <3

    Blessings,
    Edye // Gracefulcoffee
    gracefulcoffee recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #2My Profile

    • Cora | 26th Mar 16

      Thank you for reading. I hope they may help others as they help me.

  17. Heather @ Polyglot Jot | 25th Mar 16

    i like to remind myself that “This too shall pass” when im feeling totally anxious about something.
    I’m so sorry about your wallet!
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…Foodie Friday: Tuna Melt Stuffed PeppersMy Profile

    • Cora | 26th Mar 16

      This one really helps when I’m anxious. It doesn’t take the difficult feelings away, but it helps to remember that the feeling won’t last forever – a reminder to just take care of yourself and do whatever you can in the moment to get yourself through it. Thank you!

  18. cookiesnchem | 26th Mar 16

    Oh no, I am so sorry about your wallet. Your words are simple, yet so, so powerful. They really help me get a better lookout on life. You are like my virtual counsellor/yoga teacher/philosophy professor! Reading your posts are a breath of fresh air 🙂
    cookiesnchem recently posted…Food on RepeatMy Profile

    • Cora | 28th Mar 16

      This is all I could hope for! We’re all in this together, so if I can shed any sort of wisdom I am a happy girl! Thanks for reading Cindy 🙂

  19. Miss Polkadot | 26th Mar 16

    Beautiful. Very beautiful. Given you know my fondness of language and its power it won’t surprise you how much I like this post. Making a conscious effort to think and speak differently can have such a huge impact on the way others perceive us and how we feel about ourselves, too. Not related to the amazing phrases you shared here – thanks for that! – when I find myself unhappy with the way I look I remind myself I don’t have a body. I AM a body. Not separate body parts to hate on but me as a whole: mind and physique inseparable. And I know I have some mental qualitites I like about myself so can’t hate “my body”. Does that make sense?
    No matter the likeliness I hope you just lost your wallet and an honest soul will find and return it!
    Miss Polkadot recently posted…Week in review: The one with THE mental trickMy Profile

    • Cora | 28th Mar 16

      The beautiful thing is for people like you and me (from what I perceive) who love words and could probably write forever, it can be hard – yet even more powerful – to trust that just a few simple words are enough.
      I absolutely adore this – “I AM a body.” This is beautiful, and something I need to start telling myself every day. Our body does include our personality and passions and thoughts, so if I hate my body, I’m hating all sides of me. And I don’t want to hate these sides. Thank you so much for this.

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  21. Lyss | 27th Mar 16

    Such a beautiful post Cora. I am so sorry about your wallet, but like you said: we all make mistakes and we are simply human! Thank you for sharing this post and this message. You are so amazing girl! Sending tons of love <3
    Lyss recently posted…Friday Favorites 3/25/16My Profile

    • Cora | 28th Mar 16

      Thank you for reading, and for your warm words. Right back at you <3

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  23. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 27th Mar 16

    There is a tremendous amount of power in words, and I believe they have the ability to shape the future so it’s truly important to watch what you say and how you say it, especially to yourself because we tend to be our own worst critics.

    Happy Easter.

    • Cora | 28th Mar 16

      Now isn’t that the truth. One word can speak a million. Happy Easter Meg!!

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