are you gentle enough with yourself

I learnt something the other day. That being a gentle person starts with being gentle with yourself first. I can’t take credit for it. My mentor shared it with me and it was like the piece finally fit in the puzzle that is my brain.

Have you ever struggled with a knotted piece of string or a tangled necklace which you need right now. Immediately. Or else your schedule is stuffed. And you have so much else yet to do before you can keep going. And that stupid piece of string is not cooperating. And the faster you tear at that knot the tighter the tangle. The harder you push and pull and massage it (read ‘throw it across the room’) the more entwined and messy that knot becomes. Just to spite you.

No?

Just me?

{sound of crickets chirping}

Well, I’ve been trying to tame my . . . shall I say . . . enthusiasm for haste. But I had been trying so hard, so desperate to be a more gentle, calm, patient and tolerant person that my effort and struggle was the very thing stopping me from getting there. I’ve been impatient with myself, a bad boss, heck of a bad friend to myself thinking ‘why can’t you just be calm, just do it for goodness sake, get it done and then everything will be fine’.

Then I tried something different. The other day, instead of rushing into my room and slapping face cream on without much looking in the mirror, rubbing both cheeks with a keenness you only really see in deep tissue massage therapists, and walking out merely hoping with all hope that two globs of cream have not settled on each eyebrow giving new meaning to the saying ‘got milk’, instead of all that, I did it gently.

I took my time to squirt the cream onto my fingers and noticed the new pattern each squirt makes. I felt its consistency as I rubbed it between my hands. And I stopped, hands covered in cream, and looked at myself in the mirror. I admit, I shed a small tear at how long it has been since I have stopped to see my reflection, really stopped to notice my eyes, the downturned mouth, worried eyebrows and how my face lights up when I smile. My face relaxed slightly – I didn’t realise it had been tense.

But then I very slowly placed my hands on my face and ever so slowly and gently applied my cream. Feeling the skin as my hands moved. How it is soft next to the eyes, and potentially tougher on the forehead (bummer). The length of my nose. And the shape of my chin and lips.

For a moment I was gentle with myself.

And you know what, it was so easy for me to then bend down and be gentle and loving and tender to the whinging Buddy at my feet. All he wanted was a cheer squad as he pulled every tissue out of the box to feed to the cat even though he knows he’s not allowed. The gentleness lasted most of the day. And my word I’ve never felt that good. And all it took was to tend to myself first.

It doesn’t have to be face cream, it can be anything: showering; making a cup of tea; washing your hands; getting dressed; chopping vegetables. Give it a go, be gentle with yourself or what you are doing. I highly recommend it. It might make your day. It might just be the change you need.

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One response to “are you gentle enough with yourself

  1. Pingback: Be Gentle | E'n'M·

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