I find myself thinking about gratitude, appreciation, love and compassion..
There are so many people out there that tell you, "a gratitude practice is key to a well rounded, well lived life". I'll be honest there have been more than a few days where I struggled to find anything to be grateful for. Chronic health issues are debilitating and living daily with something that makes you feel awful both internally and externally is a damn hard road to travel on. I am far from perfect, far from doing all the things that many so called 'self help experts' would say are key to success (however you choose to define that). I always wonder how they were labeled 'experts' anyway. I mean I have lived a whole lot of life, made a whole lot of mistakes over the years and while whole segments were truly hard, I do have some pretty amazing stories when I look back. Does this make me an expert? Actually it just makes me someone who has lived life as a full contact sport, still around to talk about it and ok with sharing some pretty personal stuff. I mean if it helps someone else to find their way, not make a mistake I did, or realize that their life isn't as bad as they thought, well then my work here is done. I am no expert, I have just lived my life, sometimes with more awareness than others and with more success at times than I realized. At this point I figure any day above ground is a good damn day.
While at times I flail around trying to live in gratitude or appreciation and wondering how others do it consistently the bigger picture for me is loving myself and treating myself with the compassion that many times I can easier give to others than myself. Being a woman, I find my gender at times predisposes me to certain behaviors. I am a mother and a grandmother and I would do whatever was in my power to be sure that my daughter and granddaughter know they are loved and cared for. For most of my life I have had energy to spare, the ultimate energizer bunny and it is really hard for me to find the slow down mode, so hard that at times my body has had to send me a big message in order to get me to pay attention. I was raised with that hard work mentality, have worked hard most of my life and a lot of the time have worked more than one job at a time. I'm hard on myself, push myself, and yes at times berate myself with negative self talk. The whys of all of that are long and convoluted. Needless to say I have worked hard over the years to do better at giving myself the compassion, understanding and love that I can readily give to others.
I sometimes wonder why it is so much easier to give compassion to myself, why I feel undeserving, why the old stories that I and others have told about me have led me to believe I don't deserve it. As I continue on the path of living an unapologetic, whole hearted life, I know without a doubt that I have to give myself the compassion and love in order to move beyond the old stories and feelings. So I dig deep, dial down the self talk that isn't in my best interest and keep taking those steps into true compassion and love for myself. The more I lean in, the more I realize that I can only give to others if I have given it to myself first. The more love and compassion I have for myself, the more I have to give.
This week I have been focusing on thinking of someone who inspires me with their self compassion and love. It certainly has caused me to dial in a little deeper, be more aware and truly paying attention. Now that we are entering the season of holidays, family time and the end of the year and all of the busyness of the season, the stress that can be associated with all of that, the best gift we can give ourselves is love, compassion and wisdom to do what we most need in the present moment.
I am thankful to be able to have the ability to be curious about life and the ability to learn more about myself and others.