Loving Myself Enough to Push Myself; Untangling Gentleness from Self-Doubt
I set up the trampoline in the office, along with our long-unused elliptical machine. I kept repeating to myself the words my husband and I wrote together on our honeymoon, outlining our family values, years before our son arrived; “We live a fun and active life.” The opportunity to get both of us moving, to relegate screen time to a specific, active time, and to start our day on a positive and engaged foot seemed worth trying. We lead a fun and active life. At the start of this year,I made a new kind of resolution. I made a promise to myself to focus on nurturing and honoring the work I had already started. My word for 2018 was going to be BUILDING. Circling back to this, I decided my new routine would need to encompass honoring my commitment to this site, and to my writing. I decided I would publish an article each and every weekday for the month of July. The help I so desperately needed would come from me. The plan was to flip a switch and go from cobbling my house back together while my child survived on Moana, to starting everyday with cardio and publishing five articles a week. That’s a bit of a leap, especially for someone who tends to jump ship when things get tough. Those self-care messages I’d internalized over the last few years came yelling at me as I bought yet another planner and penciled in my first week of articles.
That last one, that last one gave it away. My inner critic had learned the language of self-care, and it was weaponizing it against me. Being gentle and forgiving myself had gotten me to where I was, but it was obvious if my inner critic was seizing those words, it was time for a new kind of self-care. Under “To-Dos” in my new planner, I wrote in purple felt tip pen “I love myself enough to push myself.” Just like I had learned this winter to ask myself “Can I really not do it?” this new motto of self-care motivates me without shaming. I set these goals, and by pushing myself to keep up with them I affirm my capability and self-worth.