Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I Love This

I was cleaning up my kitchen after dinner and listening to Bonnie Raitt.
(I have forgotten how much I love her Luck of the Draw album! Love!)

But anyway, had you been hanging out with me in my kitchen tonight, this is what's currently on my fridge:
a picture of my sisters and I,
a magnet quoting Winston Churchill: "If you're going through hell, keep going,"
a photo of my Grandpa Joe, 
insulin dosing charts and phone numbers for Primary Children's, 
a question from a friend, years ago, during a text conversation, that stopped me in my tracks, 
another quotation from a Christmas devotional encouraging a life lived with more love for others, 
a photo of my boys when they were not yet a year old, 
and a Fred Rogers quote that has become a favorite.

Four years ago (maybe?), I read a book called I'm Proud of You, an account of the author's friendship with the late Fred Rogers (remember Mr. Roger's Neighborhood?). 

I loved it.
And this particular quote was something that resonated deeply with me.

In fact, it has gone into my words-to-live-by category.
But, I'm gonna tell you one of my secrets.
And actually, I'd be willing to bet it's something that you -- whoever you are -- can relate to, too.

And it's this: 
I can be pretty hard on myself.

Sound familiar?

It's only recently that I've started to apply those words to 
my relationship with myself.
I think I've always thought of them as a meter for interacting with others, for several reasons:

We're all learning, and none of us are doing it perfectly.
We've all lived different experiences.
Most people are carrying some hurt in their heart, and not everybody exposes that.
Some things may not make sense, we may not know, or we may not understand.
And I generally think that behaviors are indicative of things we're processing.
In other words: if we really walked a mile in someone else's shoes, we'd get it and we'd understand.

Bottom line?

We're all on this life continuum, figuring things out.

This is why understanding, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness make sense to me.
For all of these reasons.
(And, side note: If I need to look for imperfection in an individual, all I need to do is look in the mirror.)

So yeah, be kind.
For sure.
(And apologize when you're not, right?)

But, here's the thing I'm learning, and it's a total game changer: 

Being kind also means 
being kind to yourself.
And sometimes that's the hardest of all.

Sometimes being kind means sticking up for yourself.
Sometimes being kind to yourself means setting boundaries.
It means not letting others walk all over you or dictate your emotions.
Sometimes it means saying no.
Forgiving yourself.
Not expecting too much, and giving yourself a hug when you fall down.
Sometimes it means recognizing that something is so much bigger than you...and that's okay.
Just submit to it.
It doesn't mean you're a failure, or that you should be able to handle it better.
I think it's also about taking ownership for where we fall short without beating ourselves up.
It's choosing to shed shame.

It's choosing to live your life in a raw, real way, with honesty and vulnerability and beautiful imperfection.

Yup. That's pretty much it.

Be kind to everyone else.
But also?

Be kind to yourself.

It is SO WORTH the 20 minutes.

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