If you’ve ever heard those words (you know, the ones in the title), you probably heard them from an older sibling, possibly a brother. Or from a schoolyard bully, possibly Bubba Rangel, but probably not. In the “stop hitting yourself” maneuver, someone bigger and stronger causes you to slap yourself in the face with your own hands while repeatedly taunting, “Why are you hitting yourself? Stop hitting yourself!” As if you could.

Now that we’re grown up, we have a choice. But some of us keep doing it anyway. Have you felt inadequate during this pandemic — that you should have accomplished more, done something better? Stop hitting yourself. Have you beaten yourself up for being scatterbrained, even though there’s more on your plate than you ever dreamed possible? Stop hitting yourself. Have you nagged yourself over weight you’ve gained, arguments you should have made but didn’t, ways you’ve been insufficient or overwrought? You get the drift.

Let’s all be like SueBE’s good Samaritan and give ourselves some grace.

You have it in your hands
to shape what you feel
soul-deep, to scold or soothe,
calm or caution — claim it.
What grace you dispense to yourself
will fill the font from which you draw
sustenance for others. You cannot pour
from an empty cup, and God knows,
so much needs watering. Hands at rest
can do more than you know. Hearts, too.