There’s an irony to the fact that I struggled for longer than I’d care to admit about what to write for today’s post — no, really, I’m talking on-and-off for the past couple of days, an unusually long time for me, for here — without managing to come up with a topic worth my time or yours, before giving up and thinking, you know what, maybe I’ll just skip it. It’s more important to be kind to myself than force it, and then to realize, oh, that’s what I want to write about after all. It’s not a fun irony, because I’d like all that struggle time back, thank you, but I’ll take it.
I was going to write that I’ve been focusing on being kind to myself since being laid off last month, but the truth of it is that I’ve been trying to do it even before then. It’s still an unusual and occasionally uncomfortable and awkward practice for me, not least of all because I spent so long in a relationship that wasn’t kind to me at all; I still have moments where the concept of trying to identify what it means to be good to myself feels either greedy and selfish or, worse, a question I don’t have an answer to. It is, nonetheless, something that I’ve come to realize is a necessity if I want to be anywhere close to healthy and happy.
The form of being kind to myself changes regularly; it’s giving myself a break on self-imposed deadlines, or watching another episode of Project Runway while snuggling Chloe on the couch. It’s eating well, or being okay with spending time to clean the kitchen because I’ve been noticing small messes that frustrate me far too often. It’s basically understanding what I need at that moment and quickly doing the mental math of if it’s worth the cost (the effort, the financial impact, the whatever) before making what feels like the right decision. A simple practice, but one I never got around to actually trying until too recently.
I’ve been relaxing more than I expected since being laid off, and taking things slower. Sometimes I worry that I should be doing more, but there’s time enough for that later; for now, I’m working on being kind, instead.