Be kind to yourself is an often under utilized tool for self improvement. I know, because I have been guilt over the years of not treating myself with the level of respect I should. I sometimes forget or my life spins out of its axis.
When you watch a lot of television, sports, reality television, or if you are used to gossip and complaining kindness to yourself is a lot less visible. Other peoples messes and their lives distract you like bright shiny objects. When however, you have made a conscious decision to live your life more meaningfully there are days and moments when the voices inside our head become very pronounced and learn.
It has been a long time since those voices were rude and insulting. They seemed to have learned over the years that it won’t work anymore and that I’ve grown wise enough not to listen. They are very devious however by realizing that I can get down, especially when I’ve done the work and life doesn’t seem to be what I was hoping it would be.
I have a habit of retreating. A systematic response of going inside of myself, something I have done since I was a child. I have memories of poverty and of soldiers in the streets. I have memories and a sense of suspicion of things. I arrive early partially out of respect, but also because I don’t want what comes with entering a room full of people. I always sit with my back to the door, so I am aware of my entire surroundings.
But retreating is not good. It’s not terrible. I could think of far worse things I could be doing to come with life, but I will not list them here. There is no point. We know pretty well what vices people have and what ails this beautiful world of ours.
Sometimes I try to hard, which translates into me thinking that I’m not trying hard enough. I forget that things take time, that life has a natural occurring rhythm, and so I get anxious, and excited, and then retreat.
They say that knowing is half the battle or bottle, depending if you’re an English as a second language student like me. But the purpose of these thoughts is to remember that there are times when it’s ok not to try so hard. It’s the drip by drip method. The method that accepts any meaningful progress without getting upset over time.
I was reminded of this by a very dear friend. She told me to stop being mean to her friend, and this distant humorous response broke me of retreating. Now, I’m not too far away from my rabbit hole and I may re-enter, but I now believe those kind words have awakened me to remember to be kind to myself. I also hope that you remember these words and when the time comes, you are also most kind to yourself.
This is not some kind of egotism, or an excuse not to push hard to achieve something you dream of. There are moments, when you have done all that you can, things aren’t where you want them to be, and those moment require some love and some patience.
A bit of kindness.
Cover photo generously provided by photographer Velizar Ivanov via unsplash.com