Whether one’s limitations are obvious or unseen, we all do well with a little patience and compassion in our days, beginning with what we show to ourselves. I always know when I’ve been neglecting myself. There are those tense moments when even the smallest of irritants sets me off. Sometimes I’ll begin to mutter under my breath as I wait for the lady ahead of me at the grocery checkout to slowly and carefully count out her three dollars’ worth of change. Another time I will wave my fist at the driver turning left in front of me when he misses the advance green light.
My tolerance for normal human flaws in the people close to me seems to disappear too. I might tap my fingers impatiently when my husband says, “Whatever you like is fine,” in response to my question about what he would like for dinner. Another time, I might yank at the toilet paper roll to reverse it, when I perceive someone has put it on backwards or yell, “Come on,” at my quiet phone when a friend takes longer than I would prefer to answer my text.
The clues are always clear. My continual agitation knows no boundaries and this is when I know that the problem isn’t them, it’s me. Having busied myself with looking after everyone else, I haven’t been taking care of myself. When these signs appear and my fuse runs short, I know it’s me who is screaming for attention.
Christmas time is a prime time for that to occur. We spend so much energy on others that we forget ourselves. We walk miles in the mall to buy that perfect gift, we bake even though we are trying to cut out sweets, and we organize our festivities to the infinite detail, trying hard to make Martha Stewart look like a slacker.
In spite of having no time, it’s time to stop and regroup. I try to take time for yoga, go for a long walk, or make some time to write. I sit and drink a cup of tea without multitasking so I can actually enjoy it warm or I pick up a book to escape for a short time. It’s hard but I work on making me time.
So while I attempt to remember to do that this Christmas, I encourage you to do the same. Take some time for self-care. As you give this gift to yourself, remember you will also be giving it to those around you. How you care for yourself will ultimately be reflected in your ability to care for another.
Have a truly Happy Holiday everyone!
Author, Bernice Ranalli
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