Girl by the Lake

The 6 Pillars of Struggle Care

  1. Care Tasks Are Morally Neutral

  2. Rest is a Right, Not a Reward

  3. You Deserve Kindness Regardless of Your Level of Functioning

  4. You Can't Save the Rainforest if You're Depressed.

  5. Shame is the Enemy of Functioning.

  6. Good Enough is Perfect.

 

The 6 Pillars of Struggle Care

Care Tasks are Morally Neutral

Care tasks are morally neutral. Being good or bad at them has nothing to do with being a good person, parent, man, woman, spouse, friend. Literally nothing. You are not a failure because you can't keep up with laundry. Laundry is morally neutral.

Rest is a Right, Not a Reward

You do not have to earn the right to rest, connect, or recreate. Unlearn the idea that "chores" (aka care tasks) must be totally complete before you can sit down. Care tasks are a never-ending list and if you wait until everything is done to rest you will never rest.

You Deserve Kindness Regardless of Your Level of Functioning

So much of our distress comes not from the unfolded laundry but from the messages we give ourselves. Lazy. Failure. Unlovable. You do not need to be good at care tasks to learn how to develop a compassionate inner dialogue. You deserve kindness and love regardless of how good you are at care tasks.  Challenging these critical message you give yourself will go a long way in relieving your distress.

You Can't Save the Rainforest if You're Depressed

You are not responsible for saving the world if you are struggling to save yourself. If you must use paper plates for meals or throw away recycling in order to gain better functioning you should do so. When you are healthy and happy you will gain the capacity to do real good for the world. In the meantime, your job is to survive.

Shame is the Enemy of Functioning

Shame is a horrible long-term motivator. Most of the time it is paralyzing, compounding the barriers one already has to completing care tasks. This sets up a cycle where the uncompleted task creates shame, which in turn saps motivation and energy, pushing one only to avoid the task altogether. Even if we do manage to shame ourselves into action, we find that those who work in shame also rest in shame. Instead of relief, taking a break only brings feelings of guilt. Instead of doing care tasks out of a motivation of distress you can learn to do them out of a motivation of self-care. With compassionate inner dialogue and gentle skill building you can begin to create and enjoy a worthwhile life.

Good Enough is Perfect

Throw away what you think care tasks "should" look like and work towards a way of doing them that works for YOU. The goal is not to do them to Martha Stewart's standards. You should be aiming for good enough. The extra energy to move from good enough to hastaginstagramgoals could be better spent on something that really matters. That is why we don't say "good enough is good enough" but instead "good enough is perfect."

 

When you fail at care tasks there is an immense amount of shame felt. You tell yourself 'if I could just get better at this I won't hate myself so much.' But you've got it the wrong way around. You deserve love and compassion regardless of your level of functioning. True skill building can only happen in an atmosphere of profound self-compassion and gentleness.

KC Davis