How many times in a day, a week, a month do you say to yourself, “I should have/why didn’t I…” and proceed to berate yourself for not doing the thing you think you should have done?
My answer is: too many.
Living with a loss, in all its forms – death, divorce, employment, friendship, money, home, a pet, motivation, et al – can be emotionally exhausting, but instead of befriending ourselves and offering kindness and self-compassion, we often jump on the “If only…” bandwagon and ride into the sunset of regret.
Practicing self-care when fear, agitation, anxiety, or uncertainty are center stage in our brains is not easy. Remembering to breathe and offer a kind word to ourselves is even harder. But it’s possible to prioritize your needs over your thoughts.
Self-care starts with developing a conscious intention to pay attention to the harmful self-talk and stress loss engenders and deciding that you want to change how you respond to it. For me, Tara Brach’s talks on intention have been incredibly insightful and helpful in my pursuit of self-kindness. I still “I should have…” too often, but even if it’s just for one moment that I remember, “Oh right, I can offer a kind word to myself right now,” I’m building that self-compassion muscle.
This short narration, Self-Kindness Inside Grief, by Megan Devine is lovely. I’ve listened to it several times and hope you find it comforting as well.
I’m adding resources every week to the Grief Talk Tuesdays page. If you have a resource that has been helpful to you and you’d like me to add it to the page, leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.