Giving. Me. A. Break.

When I went to college I found my new best friend on the first day. I’d seen her in my dorm, and she had a gorgeous older brother, so I’d stopped by to say hello. She was a little icy at first (perhaps she suspected my motives for saying hi were spurred by her good-looking brother…which was 100% true) but the next day during orientation we clicked. She grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, was obsessed with Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, and wore knee-high lace-up boots. Her hair was long and blonde and she looked eerily similar to Pam Anderson (in her Baywatch days). As our freshman year passed we became very close friends. She saw me through a tumultuous break-up with my high school boyfriend and I saw her through the same. We lived only a few rooms apart and by the end of our freshman year it felt as though we’d just had a nine-month slumber party.

Early on I noticed there were stark differences in how we related with our parents. When she was sick, or having a challenging time, or during finals, she would receive care packages or phone calls from her concerned mom. If I were sick, or having a challenging week, or in the midst of  finals,  my mom would recommend, sternly, that I figure it out. When I was little I remember having friends with very different kinds of moms. My mom worked a lot of hours, was always running, and frankly there wasn’t much time for coddling. It was never more evident than it was when I saw my best friend in college reap the benefits of care packages with cookies, and treats, and gifts, yet if my mom called at 9am and I was still sleeping (because class didn’t start until 10am!) she would be dismayed that I was still in bed.

Let me be clear…I’m not at all bemoaning my childhood …my mom brought magic to my childhood that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

I digress. As an adult, when I’m struggling through some challenges, or feeling stuck, or am crabby, my first inclination is to figure it out. Deal with it as quickly as possible and then move on. Balls to the wall. No rest for the wicked. And so on…and so on. Rarely is there a day when I think to myself ‘you know what? You need a day to just do whatever you want. You can “figure it out” tomorrow.’ I treat myself like my mom did when I was growing up. And how her mom, my grandma, treated her when she was growing up.  I don’t coddle.

You may have deduced from yesterday’s post that I’d…umm…reached my limit. This should have been clear to me when I was out running with the dog last night and my husband drove up to check-on us (it had started raining) and I picked a fight with him in the middle of the street. When he’d come out to rescue me from the rain. At that point someone should have just put me to bed. Instead I ran home to write an inspiring post for you to read! In spite of my evening, I woke up this morning feeling rested and good. Ready to take-on the day but not necessarily ready to go balls to the wall. So I decided as I hit snooze one last time that today? I would be kind. To myself.

I slowly made my way to work, stopping for breakfast at McDonald’s, and I settled-in to read emails from friends that have been ignored for the past couple weeks due to my workload. My friends are wicked funny so I was able to enjoy laughs and respond with witty retorts. Then I checked-out some websites I haven’t seen in a few weeks, read the business section of the newspaper, and started to plot out my next six weeks at work. Our fiscal year-end is right around the corner and I want to be sure to have a plan in place to get as much done as possible. After spending the morning going at my own pace I scheduled a lunch meeting with a girlfriend with whom I just happen to do business. At a restaurant I haven’t been to in ages but love. I spent the afternoon discussing upcoming events for work and chatting with my team.

Tonight I’m skipping my evening run and I’m going to enjoy an evening of TV, my fabulous course on building a blog I truly love, and I’m going to relax. Without.  Guilt. I can ignore piles of laundry and shoes on kitchen tables with the best of them!

I’m so often harder on myself than I am on anyone else. I expect far more of myself than I do of anyone else. And thus I don’t allow myself much space for struggle or operating on a level that is sub-par. I expect myself to snap out of it and get moving ASAP which often times backfires and makes me feel worse. This morning I made a conscious choice to allow myself a little room. A little space. To have a day to recover from a couple of hard weeks. To gently shake-off the stressors and the worry and the responsibilities. I started feeling so much more like myself and so much better by mid-morning.

Does it really only take being a little kinder to myself, and allowing myself a little time, to heal from a rough couple of weeks? When I wake-up tomorrow and head to the office I will be so much more productive than I would have been if I’d rushed into my life today like the past couple weeks hadn’t happened. I will feel good, refreshed, renewed, and ready to kick a-s and take names.

So maybe every once and awhile time should be made for coddling?

TODAY: What if instead of expecting myself to always be “on” and not allowing for a couple bad days/weeks I am kinder to myself? What if simply being kinder, even for just a day, makes me a much more powerful force with which to be reckoned?

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