I’m kind of a sucker for clickbait. Celebrities without makeup! 24 ways to eat an avocado! 77 puppies so cute your heart might actually stop beating! You get the gist. So naturally when I saw the headline “11 women with their shit together” on Man Repeller, you bet I clicked over and bookmarked without a moment’s hesitation. I haven’t even finished reading the entire thing but I was just instantly struck by this one quote from New York Magazine columnist Heather Havrilesky:

Man Repeller: Finally, any words of wisdom or advice about “getting your shit together” that you wish someone told you years ago?

Heather Havrilesky: Decide what you love and sacrifice to do it. Don’t expect to be as good as other people at everything. Find a way to satisfy some of your emotional needs through your alone time or your hobbies or your work. It’s hard to be a good friend or a good partner or a good parent if you don’t know how to address your own needs first and foremost. If you don’t know what you want or need or how to satisfy your emotions, then you have to figure that out. That needs to be a top priority. But above all, don’t model yourself on other people, based on some scoldy voice in your head. You might be obsessed with being amazingly well dressed precisely because, at some level, you know that’s not really you. What’s ironic is that sometimes we fixate on the things that we just don’t give a shit about when push comes to shove. It’s just another way of hating ourselves for who we actually are! I think letting go is a giant part of getting your shit together. Knowing who you are and what you care about, and being unafraid to show THAT person with THOSE priorities to the world, is everything.

“What’s ironic is that sometimes we fixate on the things that we just don’t give a shit about when push comes to shove. It’s just another way of hating ourselves for who we actually are!” Who else nodded their head while reading those two sentences?! It was this little aha! moment for me: there are some things I care a lot about, some things that simply are not a priority to me right now, and if I hold myself to the highest standard for all of them, I’ll always find a way to hate something about myself.

“Decide what you love and sacrifice to do it.” I care about being a good daughter, sibling, fiancée, friend, and boss. I’m focused on looking after my mental and physical well-being in a way I haven’t for too many years. I have a job I love where the only limitations are the ones I needlessly put on myself. And I don’t doubt that I would be better at all of that if I cut myself some slack on the stuff that I’m not only bad at but also honestly don’t care about being good at, at least in this stage of my life.

Here’s an example for you. Last week I wrote a post called “getting real about getting fit” and it got a ton of traffic, comments, and positive feedback on social media. Woohooo, right? But a ton of readers asked to know what I’m eating, cooking, snacking on, etc. and it took 0.2 seconds for the guilt set in. Right now, as Will and I focus on furthering our careers and making friends in a new city and planning our wedding, it’s all about takeout in our house. And one day I hope I’ll be whipping up homemade meals for my family and saving money by not eating out all the time — but honestly, today is not that day and it would feel pretty freaking awesome to stop beating myself up about it. I’m sure that makes me less relatable or less inspiring or any number of things I could continue to hate myself for. But when I’m totally honest with myself, cooking at home is something I just do not give a shit about right now. Pardon my French but it feels pretty great to be honest with all of you too.

I guess my point (paraphrased from Heather’s) is we’re all so good at beating ourselves up, often for things we don’t even really care that much about. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What’s important to you right now? And what’s one thing you need to stop hating yourself for? Please be kind in the comments and, even more importantly, let’s all be a little kinder to ourselves.


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  1. Hi Mackenzie. I’ve been following you silently for almost two years now, and this post has broken my seal. I have enjoyed reading your thoughts, looking at your pretty pictures, and pondering how you have come to be so beautifully put together. I myself can only hope to be, as I try to start a little bit at a time. You are truly an inspiration. Right now I am, admittedly, in a transitional point in my life – I quit a job and am looking for a new one, and while my body says to look for a creative one, my mind quickly swarms in to steer me back towards the path I chose a few years ago in finance. Needless to say, you hit home on this post. I’ve been beating myself up to be better at a career that may not even be right for me and that I may have been wanting for all the wrong reasons. So thank you for being brave enough to speak the truth and for giving us inspiration. We love you all the more for it.

    1. Hi Sally, thank you so much for your comment. I’m really glad this struck a chord with you and served as a reminder to cut yourself a little slack. You can do it! 🙂

  2. I have recently found the balance in the eating out/home cooking issue. One week we had like nothing in the house and no time to go shopping so I caved and ordered my groceries to be delivered. My mom could not understand and thought I was so city. Whatever… I had fresh food and eggos delivered right to my door!

  3. What a timely post. I literally had a panic attack when I ran into a work colleague on my third lap around the Whole Foods hot bar on Monday. I felt so guilty and embarrassed that I had just filled up a box with mac and cheese.

    Taking a deep breathe, reminding myself that I’m not a failure, and pouring a big glass of wine. Thanks for this post, Mackenzie!

  4. This post really made me pause and take some time to reflect. Love how well worded everything on your blog is, and all the inspiration I consistently find in your posts.

  5. For whatever reason, I just teared up at my desk reading this….so clearly there are some things I need to work through haha. When you said, “But when I’m totally honest with myself, cooking at home is something I just do not give a shit about right now.” This is me! The only things I’m good at slapping together right now are grilled cheese. We enjoy dinners out and I enjoy not struggling through a recipe in our tiny kitchen. This is my favorite post from you to date. 🙂

  6. Mackenzie, thank you so much for writing this post and sharing this! Eating out does not make you *AT ALL* less relatable! As a grad student right now I completely relate to having to eat out a lot; there just isn’t enough time or energy available daily for everyone to do everything. There’s no need. It is so brave of you to put yourself out there like this so, from the bottom of my heart, thank you SO MUCH for doing it. This is amazing. Love reading your blog every day and finding great gifts for friends and family in your shop!

  7. This is easily one of my favorite posts of yours. You are so right! I compare myself to others WAY too often. Thank you for putting it into perspective!

  8. This could not have come at a better time! I have been feeling less than my best and getting really down on myself for not working out enough.

    This is a really nice reminder to take it easy on ourselves and that it is ok to not be perfect or even hold ourselves to high standards all the time.

  9. It becomes even worse when you have children. The guilt. Am I doing enough, am I there enough, am I being the role model that I want to be. The list goes on..

    Life is difficult and your post serves as a good reminder that we need to be kinder and more patient with ourselves.

  10. If anything, I think this type of honesty makes you even more relatable! For the first time in my life I finally have an idea of where my career is headed and now I’m trying my best to take better care of myself. Sometimes that’s by working out, sometimes that’s by cooking for myself, and sometimes it’s relaxing after a long day of work. It reminds me of that Emily Ley quote, “I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.” Thanks for posting, I really enjoyed this post and look forward to reading the MR article.

  11. This is so accurate! I’m a college student and I am working crazy hours on top of attempting to maintain my social life. I still eat healthy and workout, but some days you just don’t have the time nor the energy to cook a meal or go excercise. There’s so much pressure put on women to do and be so many things, but the truth is that we’re not obligated to do anything! I can’t wait for the days to cook Pinterest and Instagram worthy meals, but it’s just not in the cards for me right now. This was exactly what I needed today!

  12. Girl, I feel you! Sometimes it can be an unnecessary weight on our shoulders to try to win all the battles. Gotta pick and choose what truly matters to you, deep down, and to let that be enough. We end up losing more when trying to win them all- your “best” on many days will not be perfect, and that is totally okay. Some days it’s more about making it through, than doing everything just so. Thanks for your candor and sharing!

  13. Mackenzie – this is great and something to which I totally relate. Love that you are clear about your priorities and also about articulating them here. Also love your blog.

  14. It’s really hard to be kind to yourself so I totally relate to this post. I am terrible at doing laundry on the weekends (or at all really) because I rather travel and see people I love. The pile gets huge and ugly to look at and I still don’t do it. I’ve got to stop feeling guilty about having a messy closet woth a large pile of laundry and be happier about my adventures. Thanks for the post, Mackenzie!

  15. I am in a different boat than most because I can find time to exercise. Being a nutrition person, I can always find time for that too. I am hardest on myself about not being where I want to be yet in my life or career. I know I’ll get there eventually once I’m finished (again) with school. I have come to learn that life is too short to sweat the small stuff and to make time for the things I enjoy and that interest me (which usually are food and mixing drinks related).

  16. I definitely agree with you on the eating portion. I’ve recently started my fitness journey, and it’s hard enough to plan meals and cook, let alone add HEALTHY to it!! Thank you for sharing this!!

  17. Well said!!! I applaud and admire the transparency and if anything find you more “followable” for it. I agree with you…right now making perfect meals AND keeping a perfect home AND taking care of myself can’t all be priorities as my fiance finished his medical fellowship and I push myself at work. So I made a decision…I can either make time for the gym or make time for the dishes. I chose myself and my health and my sanity…so sometimes dishes st soaking for 3 days. But I stopped hating myself for it.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. YES! If I’m eating a healthy dinner, who cares if I made it or picked it up from Panera on the way home from work? If you’re finding time in your day to work out, what’s a messy kitchen for a couple days? Thanks for reading and chiming in.