Someone told me recently that I need to give myself grace. I’ve been thinking about that a great deal. Not just as it relates to me and my situation but the turn of phrase and it’s meaning. At the core it means to be kind to ourselves. Be gentle. I think that is good advice. I also think that it’s something that we don’t do well or often. I remember once reading about positive affirmations and I tried to practice what this preached but I just ended up disgusted and slightly amused as I stood in front of a mirror like Stuart Smalley and uttered nice things to my morning reflection while scrunching my hair.
How can we be kind to ourselves? Specifically in my case I was lamenting the fact that my weight loss has just stopped. Stopped dead. Slam on the brakes and put it in park. I’m annoyed as hell about this. Well I was. And sometimes I still am. So I thought about what giving myself grace meant in this situation and I determined that I should activate manic Mary. I bought supplements, I bought teas, I ordered books, I researched new recipes and new ideas and I went insane for a little while. At the end of the day it worked. I’m happier and more content because I took action BUT if we are honest I’m also losing weight now so manic Mary knows her stuff. So was that grace? Uh hell to the no. That was manic Mary and she is not kind to me at all. She’s crazy.
So then I was like “Wait manic Mary take a step back and let’s breathe”. I took some deep breaths, put my eyes back in my head, slept for twelve hours, tied my hair back (oh yes this is when stuff is getting real friends, when the hair gets tied back) and I just closed my eyes and sat quietly. Thinking about ways that I could show myself grace. I actually did that. I figured out step 1. Not to have steps. Okay just kidding. Sort of. But really my first toe dip into that pool of grace was to stop looking at the scale. I am in a program where I have to weigh every day and it is transmitted to an app. I also have to log all of my food and drinks. No biggie I do that anyway but the weight thing was FREAKING ME OUT! So I’m not looking at that number except once a week.
So grace. What is that? It’s defined as: Noun Simple elegance or refinement of movement. Courteous goodwill. Okay not entirely helpful. Verb Do honor or credit to someone or something by one’s presence. Ahh now we’re talking.
So self grace means honoring myself. Giving myself credit. Being present for myself. Okay. I’m there. So I’m not going to be Stuart Smalley because that’s weird and just makes me feel uncomfortable but I will honor myself. I will give myself credit. I have worked hard over the last 3-4 years to get healthier and despite some pretty major setbacks I’ve done that. I feel good, I look better and I have dropped a lot of weight. Now here is where before I would always drop in that disclaimer. I would dishonor myself and undo all my good work. I’m not doing that. It’s like if you compliment me on my dress I will say “Oh this old rag?” Okay probably not but you get my drift.
So what have I learned? I’ve learned that I’m my own worst critic but really no I didn’t because I already knew that. I’ve learned that I don’t really know how to be kind to myself. Is that a learned behavior? You know what’s funny/not funny? Typing that makes me uncomfortable. Not sure why. I will have to take that out and dust if off later. Is that a female trait? Or is everyone like that?
On a factual basis I have learned that my weight is crazy stupid all over the place day to day. I have learned that I have a voice and I have to advocate for myself. I’ve learned that sometimes my theories might actually warrant serious contemplation and ultimately that I might actually know what I’m talking about. I’ve also learned that I have to ask people to listen to me and if they don’t, keep talking until they hear me. I think those are all examples of showing myself grace. Much of this I definitely have learned before but I now know I have to keep re-educating myself. So for now this is how I’m showing myself grace. Not with rocky road ice cream or Steak n Shake. Laugh if you must but both things were definitely in the running. I love me some Steak n Shake. But in my world right now I have to consider how my actions might actually be unkind. To me. I’m literally shaking my head right now just putting that in writing. Am I alone in this? Does anyone else feel a little ridiculous being kind to yourself? I mean I’m not actively MEAN to myself but in this exercise I am trying to be conscious and present and deliberate. It’s weird man. But I’m doing it.
So how does this look for me? It is organic and I recognize that but for now, for today how this looks is I’m going to actively find ways to show myself kindness and probably more importantly find ways to stop myself from being unkind. To me. That might be the hardest part.