This year for Lent I decided that instead of giving something up I would take something up.
I wanted to do two things- spread kindness and get closer to God.
My plan was to spew kindness from every orifice and make the people that I care about happy.
I was gonna buy lots of stamps and send out hand-written notes, because what’s better than a bill? A note from a friend. I felt I could do to be a little more kind to others and I truly believe in the power of kindness and the importance of telling people that you care about that:
a. you do care and
b. why you care- what do/did they do specifically that makes you have warm, fuzzy feelings when they come to mind?
I especially believe this for my fellow warrior girlfriends who are just tryna make it through every single day. Mental health issues ain’t nothin’ to mess with, so having someone lift you up at just the right moment? Priceless.
So I set off to work.
I wrote notes. I thought long and hard about what I was gonna say. I dropped things in the mail.
And, hey. It worked.
People were surprised.
I was reading a daily lent scripture and reflecting on it in my journal.
I was approaching all situations with a kind heart. When things got rough and I couldn’t think of anything kind to say “Oh. Okay.” were my words of choice prior to removing myself from said situation. I offered support and a listening ear to those around me who needed it and was generally more kind than my usual indifferent self.
By week 3?
I was dead.
I think I gave more of myself than I thought.
I hadn’t realized what a suck it is to give out all of your warm fuzzies. To give everything that you have to others.
I don’t want this to be misread. I loved doing it! And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
What I’m saying is that I was reminded of how important it is to take care of yourself while taking care of and nurturing others.
You can’t give everything to everyone else because what will you have left for yourself?
I’ll tell you what- nothing.
Especially if you struggle with any kind of mental illness. You just can’t put yourself in a place where you don’t feel refueled. It can feel really good to give to others- until it doesn’t.
I felt myself dragging and getting edgy. I wasn’t really feeling like being kind anymore and I kept trying to snap myself out of it- but I couldn’t.
My friendapist (friend who is a therapist) Melissa asked me “what refuels you?” and I couldn’t really answer that question at the moment. Outside of running, what refuels me? Of course, there are lots of things that I love to do just for me, but when you get to the point when you can’t even name one thing? You need to step back and fill your bucket ASAP.
I also should mention all of the things that I learned. That when people say “choose kindness,” they mean it. I can choose to be kind and choose to be happy. When I feel kind and happy, I can choose to share that joy with others. I learned that if I am not happy though and when I don’t feel kind, I shouldn’t feel bad about it. Life is just. that. way. Not every day will be rainbows and unicorn farts. People really need to deal with the fact that some days people won’t be all Top o’ the morning to ya! and that’s okay.
Finally, I was just reminded that I don’t have to be who people think I should be. It’s all good to continue to be my best self.
“Find peace and comfort in your unfinishedness.”
– Kristin Lohr
Giving to others is good. I think we all should do it, but don’t forget to give to yourself as well.