A lot of us begin our day the same way. We check email or voicemail, thinking about our responsibilities for the day and use these two methods to help plan our day or at least develop a to do list.
If we are being honest, much like when we check snail mail at the end of the day (yes if you are snail, then it is just mail), we often hope there will be a gift of some sort or some form of kindness. Most of you can imagine, throwing your bills up into the air at the sight of a gift and thinking I can probably wait a couple minutes before I get to my bills. And who isn’t guilty of a little retail therapy now and then? The self gift.
If only temporarily, gifts often help. It is not just tangible gifts though. Sometimes, it is a really nice letter. Some form of acknowledgment of your humanity or relationship to someone else. We all love to get letters, emails, voicemails from friends and family. If distilled down to their essence, gifts are things that make us feel special, new, loved, and appreciated. While it would be nice to have a calendar full of people who would provide you with these services (Is that a great business idea or what!), it is more likely that you could find the time to do it for yourself.
In positive psychology, they have folks acknowledge five things that they are grateful for before they go to sleep. In self-compassion psychology, I am asking you to write or leave a voicemail for yourself at night, five kind things (acknowledgment of a growing skill, an accomplishment, a development of relationship, a development of an ability like self-compassion, something unique about yourself that only a few people know, or just you willingness to want to be kind to yourself despite a litany of reasons not to). So when you check that email or voicemail in the morning, BOOM KINDNESS!
The truth is, despite our sometimes or perhaps often time belief of the contrary, you cannot have too much love or the ability to be kind to yourself. It is the source that fuels our ability to work hard and to enjoy life.
I think most frequently people worry that they are not being hard enough on themselves or working hard enough, but being too hard on yourself is actually a distraction. To achieve success, you must set goals and take action. Beating yourself up is neither, and actually uses the resources that you need for both. It also teaches you that no matter what you accomplish you will never be happy. I don’t know how much you know about punishment and reward but research has shown for a long time that we accomplish much more with reward than we ever will with punishment. My guess if that if you are extremely motivated to have a good life, you can find time to email yourself or leave a quick voicemail about five short things. No matter what anyone says (including yourself), you are worth it!
Call it in or send yourself a voicemail! Here is to getting a better life from what probably will take two minutes or under a night.
365 Days of Kindness. Self Compassion. Day 9. In the Books.