Quote: “Be kind to yourself.”
Today started like many Sundays. I woke up and did my morning devotion ritual. After kind of messing around, doing some pleasure reading I started to get ready for church. But I had this nagging feeling that maybe I should stay home. I went back and forth about what I wanted to with myself and it hit me: Another week had gone by and I had given an inordinate amount of time to other people and my responsibilities without really stopping. When I did stop it was for my post lecture nap or going to bed in general. While I had been tending to others and my schoolwork; driving and giving of myself, attempting to keep up with my skin care routine while also letting the week slip by with little space to just breathe. I had one of those moments where I actually stopped and said, “Ok, you need to park it somewhere.” I felt in my soul that I needed to be in the house.
I have never be one to extend grace and kindness to myself, which is ironic because I almost easily offer those things to others. My therapist has been telling me to be kind to myself for almost a year. Sometimes I am able to do lip service and tell myself I should, but self-care is a work in progress. Still, the truth is that you must be kind to yourself.
Life comes at you hard and fast, especially these days. I find it easy to swallow so much negativity. Between our responsibilities and the unending messages that lead us to believe that we have to check off oh-so-many boxes to be successful, it is hard to extend love and care to yourself. I do not know about anyone else, but I usually do not feel like I deserve it. These are merely falsehoods that keep me moving and beating myself up until I reach a high and nebulous marker of achievement. It is some real deal violence and BS.
It is ok to step back. Stepping back does not mean that you are stopping. The moments, like today, where I am able to press pause really allow me to check in with myself and tune up my prospective. We all need that. Getting caught up in our goals, maintaining relationships, keeping the bills paid, raising decent kids, and trying to whip ourselves into somebodies is exhausting. Give yourself a break. The consequences of not are dire. I have pushed myself until I have caught colds, sinus infections, and other illnesses largely brought on by stress and exhaustion. We only get one body and one life, it is important to take care of it. Take regular time to rest, regroup, and refocus, even if it is 20 minutes. Meditate, take stock of what you have to be grateful for, have a cup of tea and just stare out of the window. Do something to push the pause button. The to do list will still be there after your break. Know that it is ok to listen to yourself, and being kind to yourself first is not selfish. Ever.