It has been a long time since I have written. I have missed it. Somehow, I have found myself stuck in the swamp of grief. Not all day. Not every day. Not even in the same way. Just off balance. Running down dead ends. Falling down. Getting up. Feeling confused and, oh, so very, very tired.
It’s been just 17 days since I passed April 1, the two year mark of Brian’s death, even though it feels like a lot longer than that. And here I am, stumbling my way into year 3 without him. Still tripping over my own feet. Continuing to get in my own way while seeming to be looking for the “secret passageway” out of the abject sadness and feelings of hopelessness that sometimes sneak up on me and temporarily highjack an up mood, a feeling of “Hey, I think I am going to be OK — eventually.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m still actively trying my hardest to somehow work myself back onto the road of life. I just didn’t realize how many potholes that path had. Some days, much to my disappointment, it’s harder to move forward. On those days it’s more complicated to unpack the baggage that grief left me with. It slows me down so that I’m unable to stay in my lane once I finally claw my way back there.
I know what I need — and that’s to show myself some kindness. I know it won’t fix anything, because that is not how this works. There is no “fixing” my way out of grief. There are going to be days — weeks — when something sets me back. It’s on those days, in particular that I need to show myself kindness for what I’ve lived through to haver gotten this far. In her book, “It’s OK That You’re Not Ok,” Megan Devine says:
“Self-kindness is seriously difficult. We can talk all day about how other people deserve kindness, but when it comes to ourselves? Forget it. We know too much about our own shortcomings, the ways we’ve messed things up, just how badly we’re doing everything. We treat ourselves far more harshly than we would ever allow anyone else to treat us. Everyone struggles with this; it’s not just you. For many people, being kind to others is far, far easier.”p. 113
And so, I’m going to work harder at doing just that. I’m going to, as it says on the base under the little wooden heart that sits where I am sure to see it every time I walk into my bedroom, “Do more of what makes your heart happy.” I’m going to practice self-love. Stop demanding so much of myself. Stop trying to be everything and do everything. Perhaps, as Megan Devine says, I need to write a love letter to myself. Whatever it is, I need to get at it. Actually, at the very top of the list of things that feed my soul is exactly what I am doing now — writing on this blog. Sharing my thoughts. Huh, I guess that means I’ve already started. Good deal. Now, to keep it up. I can do this.
“Let me be to my sad self-hereafter kind.”
Perter Pouncey, Rules for Old Men Waiting: A Novel
Self-compassion is simply GIVING the same KINDNESS to YOURSELF that you so freely give to others.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.
Self-compassion is a more effective motivator than self-criticism because its driving force is love, not fear.
Talk to yourself like you would someone you love.
Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.
Louise L. Hay
“You have peace,” the old woman said, “when you make it with yourself.”