It’s become standard operating procedure of late. The passing of a music icon disrupts the preprogrammed corporate music playlist of radio stations of the same genre. Now when I hear three songs by the same band or artist played back-to-back-to-back on the radio I assume someone has died.

That was the case recently with the loss of David Bowie. His passing filled the airwaves with his songs, his life celebrated through a lifetime of the music he created and shared with the world.

Sometimes hearing songs for the first time in a long while allows you to appreciate their artistry and message. Time changes us all and often with it our perspective of songs we’ve heard most of our adult lives.

“Insanity laughs…under pressure we’re cracking.”

Back in 1981 when it was recorded by Bowie and Queen, “Under Pressure” was lyrically insignificant to me. It was a great song driven by an infectious bass line. But I couldn’t relate to any meaning the words may have contained. The only pressure I had at that point in my life was making sure I had enough beer for the weekend as Massachusetts liquor stores were closed on Sunday back then.

Fast forward through life. Career. Mortgage. Kids. Then another. Child care. 401k? IRA? “College costs how much?” Life filled with obligations and responsibilities.

This ain’t 1981.

“Pressure, pushing down on me…”

Life presents it’s challenges, especially when you are responsible for the well-being of others. But all challenges contain one inherent characteristic built into them. We get to choose how we respond to them.

I haven’t been keeping score but I know there have been times when challenges have gotten the best of me. And if they didn’t get the best of me they left me a little bruised and bloodied in the process.

Looking back in time, those were the moments when I lived defensively, weathering the storms like a boxer up against the ropes, protecting myself the best I could from the onslaught of the pressures of the moment.

In a world often portrayed as cold and cruel, we are perhaps the coldest and cruelest of all. To ourselves. We wouldn’t hold those we love up to the same standards and expectations we so often set for ourselves. How often do we compare where we are in life to where we feel we should be in terms of our careers, finances, accomplishments and possessions? How often do we let regrets and disappointments become the justification for beating ourselves down emotionally? And that’s exactly what we do when we remind ourselves of our previous “failures” in life as we once again fall short of the lofty ideals of perfection we feel we need to attain.

So much of the pressure and stress we feel today is self-inflicted. We are the ones putting our own heads in a vice and continually squeezing ever tighter.

“Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?”

My journey so far tells me that we all need to cut ourselves some slack and stop kicking our own asses. We need to be kinder to ourselves and get off our own backs and uplift, inspire, and forgive ourselves just like we’d unhesitatingly do for others. Certainly we all have regrets and disappointments…things we wish we could magically go back in time to and do over. And since that isn’t an option, we are then either left paralyzed in the bitterness of an unfulfilled yesterday or lovingly and compassionately embracing who we really are and moving forward to become all we were created to become.

“…and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves…”

How different would your life be if you became your own source of inspiration and forgiveness?

Kiss your own ass.

Stop kicking it.

It’s a great day to be you!

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