Are you being kind to yourself?

Published 6:15 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2018

“You need to learn to be kind to yourself.” That’s what my friend from Salida said to me.

I started to automatically defend myself with, “I am kind to myself,” but, really, am I? Are you? What does that even mean? It started mulling it over.

Looking out my window and seeing the whiteness of the deep new snow makes me content to sit in my chair and write what I feel about all of this.

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First of all, I feel the need, out of habit, to make a list of what I really like to do.

The list of things I truly enjoy doing goes something like this:

Holding and petting my cats or just being with animals.

To write.

Walking 15 laps daily.

Talking with Steve about writing, being with family.

I also love music and finding a way each day to help someone else and, at the end of the day, I get real satisfaction in checking off everything I told myself to do that day — chores, meetings, performances, whatever.

A fundamental work ethic was established for me and my brothers early on. I admit to being a compulsive overachiever, and until everything I think I must do each day is done, I can’t even seriously ask myself, “Was I kind to myself today?”

Does being spontaneous make you happy? I like to feel I am ready to stop a chore so I can do what I love to do. But, in truth, I’m not anymore. I used to be. Are you?

I find I have to complete what I’m doing before I can stop and write what is clawing to get out and put it on paper. Is that being kind to me? I think not!

Do you find yourself nodding, “Yes, yes, yes?”

Listen, I’m not saying getting one responsibility done is bad. It isn’t. I am suggesting you and I need to be honest with ourselves.

If we don’t figure out what makes us happy and gives us peace of mind, no one will do it for us.

I realize that, though I am quite clear on what makes me truly happy, I often do not allow myself to have them, right down to some pretty basic things.

My daughter, with some free time, will ask me, “What do you want to do today, mom?” or, “What would you like to eat today, mom?”

Many times I will dismiss it with, “Oh, I don’t know” or, “I don’t care,” or, “It doesn’t matter.”

But, if truth be known, it does matter. I matter. You matter.

Here’s what I think we need to do to be kind to ourselves.

First, we must get in touch with what really soothes our souls and always makes us smile. Is it being with your children and your family? What about your pet dog or cat? My cats genuinely make me happy. Is it seeing or doing art work? Listening to Pachabel’s Canon in D Major? Or all music? And what about connecting with good friends and talking? Or how about eating your favorite meal, or skiing?

The list is endless. Make yours and then give it to yourself. I want to write this column.

Cavett Robert said, “Find something that you enjoy doing so much that you’d gladly do it for nothing and then get good enough at it that you can actually get paid for it.” I feel this way about writing.

I really love finding the right words for my thoughts and I enjoy sharing ideas with others. But to be honest, I write mostly for me.

It gives me genuine pleasure to put pen to paper and just crawl inside my brain and heart and share what I find there.

Maybe more than anything I do, writing for you makes me happiest and I thank you so much for that.

So, maybe I am kind to myself. What about you?

The view from the mountain is wondrous.