Fragile. Handle with Care: Being Gentle With Myself


I have been sick, quite sick, for the past month. Actually, I haven’t been able to shake this cold/sinus stuff since September (yay for teaching and a toddler starting preschool). Nevertheless, the New Year came and with it the time to start on my goals, one of the chiefest being to get back into a healthy routine of activity and exercise. This past semester has just shattered my momentum and I have lost a good deal of what I worked for two years to gain. So I start again. But, because of being sick (and because, you know, breathing is a thing), I am having to start back slowly. Too much activity will leave me wheezing and coughing, my throat sore and dry. So I am having to be extra gentle with myself, not something I am used to doing. I am used to pushing myself. I want to push, pull, work, strive, and mold myself back into that shape and tone that I was so proud of back in July. So, right now, it is proving hard to handle myself gently, but I have to or else I will hurt myself and ruin any chance of continuing towards my goal for the foreseeable future. I have to listen to when my body cries “Enough!” and believe that, for the nonce, it really is (and has to be) enough.

This year’s word of intention is gentleness and, ironically, here I am: at the beginning of the year, having to apply that gentleness to my own self. I am having to sit down when I come home from work. Perhaps the dishes go undone or the laundry unfolded of a night as I choose to lie on the couch instead, after Daughter has been put to bed, and I’m having to remind myself that doing just that is okay.  I have never been good at being gentle with myself, so I have found that I need reminders. The graphic below from Alia Joy – Writer‘s likewise-title article is now the lock screen graphic on my phone. I have a chalkboard that hangs in my kitchen and on it is the quote: “Be easier on yourself. If being hard on yourself worked, it would have worked by now.” These are reminders that I have to keep on repeat in my mind and in my heart. I find it ever so much easier to say them to others, admonish gentleness with themselves, and believe their truth than I do when I am the one in need of the reminder. But I do need it. I need gentleness, too! Particularly from myself.

So, while it is frustrating and a bit galling to have to slow down and just concentrate on the small things in my goals for now, it is what I need. I need to hold myself softly and gently for, right now, no matter how I may feel mentally, I am physically a bit fragile, so I have to let my ability catch up to my determination.

It is okay for you to be gentle with yourself, too. If you think you need permission, you have it. There are times when we all are fragile and need handling with care. So, as we continue on into the second week of this new year, let’s check in on how we are handling ourselves, how we are treating ourselves. Could you use a little gentleness, a little lightening of the goals, of the have-to’s? If so, do it. Be gentle with yourself. I know it’s hard and I know the fear of falling behind/failing/losing our place/etc. is always there, but know that you aren’t alone. We all could a little gentleness from ourselves now and then and it’s worth it to learn to give it. And I’m learning to believe that.

 

be-gentle-with-yourself

Graphic from and belonging to Alia Joy’s post on incourage.me

 

NaBloPoMo Day 25: Opening the Doors of my Home and my Heart


I’m sitting on my couch at last. Tomorrow, the flurry will begin anew and, come early afternoon, my little home will be bustling with family and filled with the scents of home cooking and comfort. My house is tidy, the dishes are clean, the laundry (most of it) folded and put away, the table cleared and ready, and the ingredients set out to cook my own dishes for our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. There is more, SO MUCH MORE, that I could do: tidying and sorting and cleaning and perfecting. But I keep reminding myself of something that I am trying to internalize deep down into my bones and write on the forefront of my brain this holiday season:

Hospitality-is-not

My home doesn’t need to be perfect to welcome other people into it, but my heart does need to be in the right place. If I focus on how stressed I am, how much work and trouble this is, etc., then the entire day will be a waste, people will leave my home and presence unhappy, and I will have missed the entire point of this holiday. I want to make sure that my heart is in the right condition — welcoming, loving, compassionate, and grace-giving — so that my family will leave my home tomorrow evening better and happier than when they arrived.

I will probably take tomorrow off from posting as I will be spending time with family. I hope and pray that you all have a good holiday and that you are able to spend time with people you like and love this Thanksgiving.