Social distancing is a thing of the present.
Whether we like it or not we are being told to keep a safe distance from not only Joe Bloggs in the Supermarket but from the ones we love most in this world (unless you are lucky enough to live with them that it).
However there is one person that we can’t social distance from, no matter how much we may want to at times.
“Everywhere you go, there you are” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
The one person that is attached to you through thick and thin, through isolation and beyond is YOU.
So wouldn’t it make sense to be kind, and even maybe be friends, with the person who you spend all your time with?
I know it’s easier said than done. I know unpicking a lifetime of self-loathing is a daunting, and seems like a somewhat impossible task. However, I promise you it is doable, and if you give it time and take small steps you can move towards a happier relationship with yourself.
We might be struggling right now to be left alone with our own thoughts and we might be doing everything we can to keep ourselves busy, or avoiding having any quiet time just us. Yet maybe this could be a time where we try to get to know ourselves a little better.
Obviously this alien time in life does not call for you to do anything in particular. You don’t have to use it to enhance your skills, to get fitter, to learn, to do all the DIY you’ve been putting off, or to even become your own best friend; but wouldn’t it be an idea to contemplate the opportunity at least to learn more about yourself and get on better terms with who you are?
Even if you just try to be kinder to yourself. To not criticise yourself as much or feel guilty for not living up to the expectations you put on yourself. To accept that you are only human and no human is perfect, or maybe even start to compliment and congratulate yourself for the little things.
If you have ever been bullied, or had someone criticise you despite your efforts, you will know the power words can have.
Below is an extract from a piece written by Julia Guerra in 2018 from Elite Daily.
In honor of Anti-Bullying Day on May 4, IKEA brought two plants to various classrooms around the United Arab Emirates. Each plant was housed in a glass case, given the same amount of sunlight and water, and put on display for the students to study over the course of 30 days. The kids recorded different audio messages for the plants, one of which was forced to listen to bullying messages day in and day out, while the other enjoyed positive audio messages and compliments during the 30 days.
After one month of internalizing these different messages, the results, IKEA said in its video of the experiment, spoke for themselves: At the end of the 30 days, one student described the plant who listened to positive messages as “thriving” and “beautiful,” compared to its plotted counterpart, whose bullying messages ultimately led to the plant’s demise — or, at least, so it seems.
If negative words can affect a plant then imagine what they are doing to you and what you are limiting yourself from achieving by constantly tearing yourself down.
Now you may not have any belief in the noted experiment but I think you can agree that words are powerful and have consequences.
Imagine if the only words you spoke to yourself were kind ones, that you didn’t chastise yourself but gave yourself a pat on the back for your accomplishments and even learnt to give yourself a compliment once in a while.
As previously stated, you are always with yourself. There is no escape. You are the only person that, without a doubt, will be there with you for your entire life. Surely you agree it is worth investing time into making that relationship the best it can be.
I’m not saying you should love yourself from this point onwards; it will take time, it will be a process of unlearning all the self- critical habits and thought patterns you have grown to be accustomed to but if you start today you will gain time in the future being happy with yourself, rather than missing out on even more time by not taking that first step.
Isolation can be tough. Life can be harsh. Don’t add to the negatives.
Be kind to yourself. Trust you can do this. Be your friend.