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Being Gentle On Myself Means Following Navy SEAL Training

Wait, what?

By Call Me LesPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
First Place in Sleep Resolution Challenge
Image sources and permissions listed at the end of the article.

It's funny how in growing older, you're always searching for the next milestone, the next "big kid" moment: later bedtimes, later curfew, the ability to spend on what you want, the freedom to eat what you want—the opportunity to literally take a bite of forbidden fruit roll-ups instead of broccoli.

I think I spent most of my twenties chasing after things I was denied during childhood. Some of it, like a safe space free from hostility, was and is worth continuing to pursue. But other stuff? Like not making my bed? Hmmm, in hindsight, I'm no longer sure it was the right choice. And I'll tell you why.

A friend of mine in active military service recently showed me this epic video of a speech given at a graduation ceremony. It took place at the University of Texas in 2014 by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. In the nearly twenty-minute long rally, the Admiral discusses his SEAL training and the ten steps he believes are the biggest takeaways.

Now, I'm not at all into discipline and routine. I have ADHD and I'm bipolar. As anyone can tell you, I'm a walking ball of beautiful chaos, a contradictory combination of Ms. Frizzle and Edgar Allen Poe. Chores do not come easily to me.

And, I'll admit it: I scoffed at the plausibility any form of military advice would be for me.

However, I'm also not one to refuse an opportunity to examine another person's way of thinking. So, I made a gap in my day and gave up most of my lunchtime to hear the Admiral out; I walked away with an empowering set of resolutions, some of which will be easier to employ than others. (No, my overuse of adverbs will never make my list.)

This is the full video if you're curious.

I urge you to give up your own twenty minutes, but for the sake of my point, I'll summarize.

How to Change the World Navy SEAL Style

  • Find someone to help you "paddle" (the boat of your life's course that is).
  • Measure a person by size of their heart, not the size of their flippers (the will to succeed does not fit one mould).
  • Get over being a "sugar cookie" and keep moving forward (accept that sometimes you just can't get things right, but you must go forth anyways).
  • Don't be afraid of "the circuses" (failures often have silver linings).
  • Sometimes you have to slide down the obstacles head first (take chances and do things in ways that haven't yet been done).
  • Don't back down from the sharks (stand your ground).
  • You must be your very best in your darkest moments (self-explanatory, but the anecdote is worth listening to).
  • Start singing when you're up to your neck in mud (hope is the greatest thing we can give one another).
  • Don't ever ring the bell (no matter how tough life gets, don't give up).
  • I'm not sure I'll ever truly master them all. Still, the one that intrigued me the most is actually the simplest. It reminds me of something I did value as a child, even if I often refused to do it.

    Number One On the Navy SEAL To-Do List?

    Make Your Bed

    "If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished your first task of the day."

    Summary of the Admiral's rationale: It creates a sense of pride and mastery, encourages you to build onto bigger tasks as your day progresses, teaches you to appreciate the little things in life, and if your day is terrible, hey, at least you've got a tidy, comfy space awaiting your retreat!

    How simple is that?!

    This is my sleep resolution revolution, or rather, revelation! The gentlest way to prioritize my rest this year is as straightforward as making my bed. Will I succeed every day? Maybe not. But I'm going to make a vow to try...

    Pro tip: pretty bedding and cats help. :)

    In closing, these are the words that stuck with me the most.

    "A made bed gives you the encouragement that tomorrow will be better. So, if you want to change the world, start by making your bed."

    I believe I can do that. And while I hope that most days it'll be like this:

    Realistically, I know it'll more often look like this:

    Either way, I'm pressing on. Navy SEAL style.

    Happy 2022.

    This piece is entered into the Sleep Resolution Challenge sponsored by Lull.


    • Cover Photo of SEALs is licensed through Shutterstock and agreed to be used for editorial purposes only.
    • Item ID: 167818913
    • CHONBURI-APRIL 21, 2009: Navy Seal Military endurance training in hell week on 21 April, 2009 in Satahip, Chonburi, THAILAND.
    • Woman laying in bed is from Pexels. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.


    About the Creator

    Call Me Les

    Aspiring etymologist and hopeless addict of children's fiction.

    If I can't liberally overuse adverbs and alliteration, I'm out!

    Instagram @writelesplaymore

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