Embed from Getty Images
With a headache that’s been riding me for days, there really wasn’t anything I felt like doing after making dinner and cleaning up the house. Only on the rarest of occasions have I actually went to sleep when the sun was still up, and I decided tonight would be one of those times.
I gave my husband a kiss before leaving him in his office and trailing off into our bedroom with our girls (a husky and beagle). But as soon as I closed the door behind me, it was as if this heavy, bone-crushing awkwardness filled the room.
You know that excruciating discomfort you feel when you’re stuck alone with the one person you’ve betrayed time and time again and cruelly abused mentally, physically, and emotionally?
It was crazy, really. As I brushed my teeth and set out my clothes for the next day, I avoided making eye contact with myself in the mirror.
After coming to the realization of how dysfunctional of an internal relationship I have, I knew that the probability of gently gliding into dreamland was highly unlikely. So, like every other time I have some aching I don’t know exactly how to process, I pulled out my laptop.
And that is what led me here. It’s no secret that my bipolar has gotten the best of me lately. When that happens, I feel nearly every emotion under the sun, to the extreme. After the manic dust settles and the waves of depression have calmed, I’m left with the painstaking task of sorting through all of the debris. I have to distinguish legitimate thoughts and feelings from those that were fabricated symptoms of my illness. In order to do this, I must resist my urges to give up. After all, what’s the point of rebuilding everything, if I’m just going to tear myself back down again?
One helpful step in recovering from detrimental episodes (and I believe this goes for people without bipolar as well) is allowing yourself to grieve and fully process the pain, to forgive yourself, and to actively practice self-love and kindness.
I don’t doubt the merits of those steps for a minute. It all makes complete sense, and deep down, I know that’s what I need.
But I’m finding it nearly impossible to give that monster in the mirror who betrayed my body, my morals, and my principles the time of day.
Granted, it takes time to heal….but there’s only so much time left to give.
I’m reading books, exploring my thoughts, and attempting to reconnect with the essence of who I once was (I’m pretty sure she’s still there). Though, it feels like I’m trying to climb Mt. Everest in flip flops- I’m totally overwhelmed and fear that every shaky step forward is in vain.
Being kind to yourself is a necessity. It is a process, a daily practice. And this applies whether you’ve been consistently giving yourself the love and respect you’ve deserved for years, or if (like me), you find yourself back at ground zero.
There is no sufficient alternative to self-kindness. Filling your closets with expensive clothes and drowning yourself in doughnuts won’t do the trick.
Though it seems like being kind to yourself should be the easiest, most natural feeling thing to do, it often isn’t. A large part of that is due to our misguided evaluations of our self-worth and comparing ourselves to artificial standards.
I struggled with loving myself long before I accumulated a hefty collection of mistakes and shameful embarrassments. I inherited my family’s faulty thinking that all of the “touchy-feely” stuff was a disguise for unhealthy narcissism and dependence. Despite all that I know now, it’s still difficult to shake that ignorance and misconception.
While I’d love to finish this off with a list of five ways you can be kind to yourself, I believe you deserve more than hypocritical advice. Instead, I’ll leave you with what I’m sure of, right now.
You know the idea that the best things in life are worth the effort? Well, being kind to yourself is one of them. Sure, you might have a chance at attaining your goals while in a state of self-loathing, just getting by to prove your self-worth to everybody but yourself…
But imagine how much more enjoyable and effective it would be if you followed your dreams because you really believed in yourself? Because you knew that you deserved to be happy?
Well, my friend, you absolutely deserve to achieve your wildest aspirations and to live a life full of passion, happiness, and peace.
And whether I want to admit it or not, maybe I do too.
Be kind to yourself,