I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of friends who are suffering at this time of year.
You name the boogeyman. Some of my friends struggle with health. Others with family issues. One friend just lost her husband, shattered her femur, and is now recovering in a nursing home. Another friend suffers from depression. Another from loneliness. Another from alcoholism. Another from emotional abuse. Many more feel politically drained, worn out, almost hopeless.
It can feel so challenging at times like these.
After visiting my friend in the nursing home today I thought of this holy-day time of year, and how it can feel so oppressive for those who struggle. And how hard it is for some folks (especially women–although many men feel this as well) to truly give to themselves. Many of my friends will give ceaselessly to family and friends, but really don’t take the time to give to themselves.
Yet, if we don’t give to ourselves, the well runs dry. There’s nothing left of quality to give to the others.
So what kind of gifts can we give ourselves this Christmas?
How about the gift of kindness toward ourselves?
Forgiveness, that we can’t reach an ideal we’ve set for ourselves.
How about not really believing the inner thoughts that cut down, slice up and criticize ourselves? How about just saying, “I’m not going to listen to that kind of inner talk, if it’s not helpful.” (The trouble is that sometimes we listen to our inner critic because we THINK perhaps she’s telling the truth. The inner critic is not. Whatever tells the truth within us speaks in a kind and loving voice.)
How about stating what we need? This could be different for each person. For you, that might mean just leaving husband and kids to fend for themselves for 24 hours. For you, that might mean a long solo mug of latte at the coffee shop in town. For you, that might mean speaking your truth, even though you’re afraid it might make enemies.
For me this week it mean telling my husband that I needed an overnight at the Landmark Inn in Marquette. And buying a new carry-on suitcase because the wheel shredded on the current model. AND buying a humidifier for the house because of a lowly 14% humidity.
How about a massage in January of 2018, just because you deserve it?
How about saying no to a commitment that no longer serves your spirit?
How about saying yes to a project or vacation or opportunity that scares you just a little, just because it’s outside of your comfort zone?
How about listening to the inner voice that keeps prompting you to turn in another direction, to move about sixty degrees to the east of your last direction, to set out boldly toward a new possibility?
Whatever you choose–please give yourselves a wonderful gift for Christmas. Or two. Or three.
You deserve it, my friends and readers!
P.S. Please share in the comments a gift you’ve decided to give yourself this year, or in a past year. Maybe the rest of us will be inspired by your generosity.