Outdoor Advent Day 23

A close up of some old man's beard (the climbing shrub with seed pods that are long white and furry) next to some bright red berries. Nature doing its own Christmas decorations.

You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.

– page 239, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

When I first read these words I had to put the book down and have a bloody good cry.

Since then they have been written into the first page of every single one of my journals and they’re scrawled on a card pinned to the cork board behind my writing desk. They get recited, either in my head or under my breath, every time I berate myself for not managing to be the person that the world seems to want me to be.

These ten words, so simple and so easily memorised, are infinitely powerful. They’re a talisman against the bitter judgements that so many of us seem to have internalised from the culture we have been brought up in. They remind us that we have value in and of ourselves, a value that remains inherent no matter how much we earn, or do not earn. That we are worthy of love and care regardless of whether our lives fit into those boxes that our society has deemed worthy of help and compassion.

It’s such a tiny slip of a sentence yet recalling it can ease the pain of self-judgement in an instant, turn thoughts from self-flagellation to kindness in a heartbeat. It contains the sort of magic that so many of us need right now, being nothing more and nothing less than a spell to restore heart and soul when harshness and criticism threaten to overwhelm us.

I hope these words work for you the way they work for me and that they help to bring you some measure of peace in the midst of such uncertain times.


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