One of the greatest pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to be gentle with myself. It took years to learn, but its simplicity is life changing.
I was going through a difficult time in my life and seeking help. A beautiful Irish woman was placed in my journey. Her beauty was deeper than looks, she radiated something that I wanted, something in my life I didn’t have at the time. She radiated peace and serenity. In my version of the story, it was as though she was surrounded by white light like an angel and that her words were pure magic. She would describe herself in much more humble terms. It was true though; she was a ray of light in a time of darkness for me.
It took some time, but I eventually got up the nerve to talk to her. She became a spiritual role model for me, and today I’m lucky enough to call her a friend. No matter what happened in my day or week, good or bad, I would look to her, seeking a solution, a quick fix to feel better. But, the reply was always the same, a soft Irish brogue, “Be gentle on yourself.”
This concept of gentleness was foreign to me, and I would become irritated because that wasn’t a real solution. My inner critic was too loud. I had a constant voice in the back of my mind always telling me I wasn’t good enough, that I needed to do better, work harder, TRY harder, really it was saying, “you don’t deserve gentleness.”
I’m a go-getter. I will do whatever work it takes to advance myself in education, career, mental health, spirituality, etc. I like the work. I like to move forward. It took months of sitting in pain, sitting gently with myself that I learned to start to love myself. I began to accept that I was allowed to make mistakes; I was allowed to be imperfect. Being gentle on myself was exactly what I needed.
Today, it’s my number one advice to others. Be gentle with yourself. Whether, it’s a reminder of self-care when you’re moving a million miles an hour or when you’re experiencing the disappointment that can come with feeling stuck, gentleness IS the solution. Through gentleness, we can advance while standing still, we can make mistakes, and we can be imperfect.
So, dear reader, may you be gentle with yourself today.