You will, I’m sure have spotted that I’ve not been happy of late. Despite my best intentions, I seem to have developed a tranche of searingly honest and raw posts that would depress even Eeyore...from a mile away...with one look...in the dark.
A possibly throw away comment on my last but one blog, threw me. Becca, who is a friend in real life as well as in Blogland, is renowned for cutting through the fog and saying what needs to be said. It is an instinctive strength that she possesses and is one that I value. But her latest comment was one that prompted the title of this blog and kind of stopped me in my tracks.
People have said it to me before, “be kind to yourself”, but tonight (the night before Christmas - I delayed the post), instead of sleeping, my mind decided to tackle this particular conundrum. Because honestly, really honestly, I am not kind to myself. Becca knows me well enough to know that. It is really true. I act, most of the time, like I hate myself. Like many of us I guess, I have low self-esteem. It takes a lot for positive comments to reach my core. So I go through my life feeling like I’m pretty worthless.
So I started to think about what I need to do to be kind to myself. What does that look like? Inevitably, what came to mind when I asked myself that question was the answer to a different question: what effect has being unkind to myself had? The sad thoughts tumbled out. I’ve disbanded Rhiannon for 12+months to try to make my family happy when its actually causing me excruciating anguish. I’ve convinced myself that I’ll never pass and that this a good reason to never bother trying to be Rhiannon outside of my closet again. I’ve prioritised work and specifically clients over my health exacerbating a hernia problem that I don’t have time to fix and that makes me look pregnant in any girl clothes. I’ve allowed my weight to go out of control to the point where I am unhealthy and hate my body again. I’ve allowed a problem with my car to fester so that its nagging on my brain all the time. I’ve got behind on my work again because I’m unhappy about being unhappy and find it hard to concentrate and I’m scared I’ll get things wrong because I see myself as pretty useless. I put things that everyone else wants to the front of mind and what I want to the back of my mind - even when what they want is unreasonable. I’ve stopped having any kind of meaningful relaxation because despite a massively high work ethic, its never enough and if the volume of work done was ever was enough, it would never be of a high enough quality. I beat myself up for the 6 things I haven’t done, instead of feeling good about the 60 I have completed. I’m using my spare time to do things that I don’t care about because someone else thought it would be a good thing to do. I obsess that I’ve offended people because I talk about Rhiannon regularly with them and I sound like a broken record. I’ve stopped facing up to my problems. I could go on, but you get the idea. I am really unkind to myself.
The question is, given 40 years of being unkind to myself, how do you change that pattern? I don’t really do selfish very well and to be honest, that’s why I am where I am. So how can I be kind to myself without being selfish to others? Where else do you go to find out? Google of course! Search: “be kind to yourself.” Hey, its the middle of the night and I don’t have a therapist to hand. There was one that I settled on which was quite interesting. The positivity blog. Of course. There are some really interesting steps in there which I am going to try - my three favourites were, ‘set a low bar for happiness’, ’if you stumble, be your own best friend’ and ‘remember, the future is still in your hands - and it is never too late to change.’ I want to take baby steps towards being more positive and thinking more highly of myself - and I will. Just listing out the list above to be honest was cathartic. Realising I’m unhappy on so many fronts and that I need radical change has been a huge insight. I’m going to go back to seek counselling in the new year. But for now, I’m going to tackle some of the above and see what I can do, one-day at a time, starting with today, to be really kind to myself.