Hey, you, it’s been a rough year. The global pandemic has certainly strained many’s time, plans, finances, mental and physical health. Sadly, even with vaccines at hand, it feels like there are little to no signs of it slowing down. Life as it is can get hard at times, then you throw this on top and it can really escalate. Let’s talk about having some self compassion.
I know it’s been rough
Personally, I’ve been dealing with very strange medical issues that escalated out of nowhere during the pandemic. While it’s been super nice to have the opportunity to search for answers and rest while at home, it’s also really hard to be confined at home where it’s easy to spend a ton of time thinking, researching and worrying about all the medical stuff. (Insert anything else here that occupies your mind if you’re not in a tough medical season).
I really enjoyed being at home more in the beginning because I’m a homebody but I feel like it’s starting to take its toll. Every day that goes by I’m finding the need for a reset. An escape to somewhere warm with no routines or schedules in sight. A place where I can breathe in fresh air and exhale my worries and doubts.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get out and travel while not fearing this deadly disease. I’m ready to see friends out in public places. I’m ready to see and share smiles with strangers. I’m ready to hug and embrace those I haven’t been able to see because of so much isolation at home.
It’s funny (or sad) how much we take for granted the little things we got used to doing every day before all of this started. What I would give for a romantic date night out with my love or a vacation with my family.
Vulnerability in isolation
While we’ve all been home much more than we’re used to, it’s natural to feel more vulnerable as time goes on with so much up in the air and no clear answers in sight.
For me, it started with loving being at home with my family. I enjoyed working from home, home schooling our kids and having a lot more flexibility at home than usual.
Then after time went by, as many of us have experienced, I started questioning what this inflicted lifestyle meant for the bigger picture. Was this what life could be like? Could we work from anywhere and still feel connection with others? Could we still achieve everything required of us in a work setting where many of us have been tied to an office in the past?
Then it turned into this…What is it I want out of my life? Knowing there are options for alternative lifestyles, what does that look like? What work does that entail? What am I doing? Have we been living life all wrong all along? Tied to unnecessary expectations and realities? Why? Why have we done this?
But what about having some self compassion?
All of this led me to start researching what life could look like in a big way. Where we could travel, live, explore, work from, unwind, etc. I, along with many of you, spent so much time in the “what if” world, which led to being too hard on myself. Things like – if I don’t do this then I can’t do this.
I once heard Matthew McConaughey say “too many options can make a tyrant out of anyone.” Guess what? It’s easy to become a tyrant when you live in the “what if” world.
I began to wondrously aim around in Neverland. I did this until I got to the point where I was doing about 5 million random tasks a day to avoid all of these thoughts and questions. As an Enneagram 7, its easy to get distracted.
I then found after all of the what if’s I was beating myself up for not really allowing myself to sit in the precious moments of life. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we stay distracted instead of work on healing? Why do we not allow ourselves some self compassion?
Self compassion is our greatest friend
In times like these we need to show ourselves some self compassion. We need to stop being so hard on every little thing we do. We need to stop for a moment to breathe and not question every little thing. Don’t get me wrong, introspection and the ability to question our actions are great things, but not at the expense of our mental health.
Next time you’re questioning, feeling down or being hard on yourself, allow some compassion. We do it for others, why would we not do it for ourselves?
Stop for a moment when you feel those harsh thoughts coming on and ask yourself if you would talk to your friend the way you want to talk to yourself. The answer is no more often than not. We are incredibly gifted at expressing compassion for others, we ourselves are “others” too.
Try this exercise the next time you are in a moment of being too hard on yourself:
- Stop and inhale to the count of four, hold for four and exhale for four
- Tell yourself 3 things that are great qualities about yourself
- Find 3 things you are grateful for
- Repeat step 1
Look, I get it – self compassion can be hard. We can all be our own worst critic and enemy. But at the end of the day all we have are ourselves. Let’s be kind, gracious and caring for ourselves, our souls depend on it.
If you’re looking for a friend, reach out to me.