I've been thinking about kindness a lot these days, and the opposite of kindness. Back in the day, well not that long ago, I kept myself up at night with a longing for someone to be kind to me. I don't know if this sounds pathetic, but it's the truth. After lots of searching and lots of suffering, most of which could certainly be avoided if I had only known that this thing, this act that I searched for someone to give to me, was something I could provide myself.
Many times, when we think of treating ourselves we imagine a trip to a mall perhaps, or some late night online shopping. Some new clothes or a pair of shoes, just something to have. But often, this is an empty pursuit because once we get over the temporary high of a new acquisition, buyers remorse might set in, or the sadness upon realizing that emptiness we thought we would fill with this treat is still very much there.
The ultimate treat is being kind to yourself. But how to accomplish this?
Think about an experience that you enjoy. It could be something as simple as peeling a mask off your face after waiting the full recommended twenty minutes or maybe the gastronomic experience of a carefully thought out and prepared meal.
I love silence and begin in nature. My studio shares the wall with some very noisy tenants and so with my precious peace and quiet interrupted at length, I have to go out of my way to find a quiet place to enjoy the sounds of only my thoughts. To treat myself I combine the two, and voila, a planned day trip to the botanical gardens or arboretum can have me skipping with joy for a good week afterwards. And if I need some extra niceness I might throw in two more of my favorite things: coffee and amateur photography. So a Saturday winding down from a stressful week can look something like this:
A leisurely walk to my favorite cafe where I enjoy without distraction (apart from a quick pic before my first sip), fully savoring the experience as if it were a sort of meditation. Maybe some people watching or puppy watching, depending on where I end up siting. Then off to the gardens, camera in tow. The next several hours I spend simply sitting enjoying the quiet sounds of nature, snapping pictures of flowers, honeybees or heavy looking snails balanced on seemingly light leaves and admiring all that is beautiful around me. If the mood strikes I might strike up a chit chat with a stranger here or there, or just enjoy my own company.
Not all treats are cheap!
Sometimes the cost of the things we enjoy is steep, so we can't run to them at a moments notice. I enjoy getting massages but because my back is special, it has to be someone who knows what they're doing and those aren't necessarily cheap, so I have to save them up for a once in a while treat. But the reason I love massages is because it's a way for me to feel fully relaxed. I realized I can get a similar effect from yoga, it's just a bit more work. But once I get over the initial effort it's worth it. Think of ways to modify experiences you enjoy, or find accessible alternatives so that you can treat yourself without going broke.
Shopping & wearing nice things!
Okay, well yes of course I love to shop for new things, nice things things that I can wear and feel stylish in. I'm also a minimalist on a budget so shopping isn't something I can or want to indulge in on a whim. So what is my rescue? Well, some nights, it almost always seems to be on a Friday night when I don't have any particular plans, and when the darkness is heavier than usual, to my spirits I raid my closet and have a personal fashion show in front of my full length mirror. After trying on my favorite clothes, you know those fancy dresses that you wear at most twice a year but every time you do you feel like you in the video light! Yes I try on those first and immediately feel better. You see that's the thing, when you're going out all dressed up, half the excitement and joy is the dressing up part. So if you don't have somewhere to go you can still get have some of the experience! Why not?
What are some of your ways you comfort yourself?