Living in Tulsa 'Tine: Grieving, Healing, and Connecting on Socially Distant Tulsa Time. Episode 3: Spread a Little Kindness

April 17, 2020 By Emilie Smith, LPC

Well, another week has gone by. Have you tried any of the ideas from the last two blogs?

So how are you doing?

No, really, how ARE you doing?

How are YOU doing?

The question changes depending on what word you emphasize, just a little, doesn’t it? That’s a lot like our lives. That’s a lot like grief. Quarantine or not, how we feel has a lot to do with what we emphasize.

I’ve been thinking a lot since last week, about how my own mood changes depending on my focus. I can catch myself dwelling on all the things I “should” be doing with all of this free time, or of all the things that I can’t do because of the quarantine. I have asked myself, “What’s wrong with me that it’s so hard to get going today?”

Well, I just have to step back even a little bit and look at those thoughts that are running around in my head. I can get stuck on the ones that aren’t helpful, that are judging me for my lack of motivation. Then, if I’m not careful, I can find myself sitting in a puddle. That is NOT a fun place to be. Research tells us that we each have, on average, 30,000 thoughts a day. Did you know that? I didn’t. But I knew that I had a lot. And I knew that there were a lot that weren’t helpful for me to think about. Just because I have a thought doesn’t mean that I have to THINK about it…let it in and give it my full attention. So here is where I get to make a choice. Is this thought helpful to me, to help me move in the direction of where I want to go and be? Or is it a hindrance?

So I ask myself “Do I really want to think that? Is it really helping me cope?” Tearing myself down and judging myself isn’t.

So what can I do about that to get myself into a positive track?

I try to look for what’s missing in my thoughts. First thing that I notice is that I’m not being very kind to myself. I saw a bumper sticker once that said: Just Be Kind. I thought right off that I needed to check and be sure I was being kind towards the other drivers and anyone else that I came in contact with. But today I have to ask myself, why didn’t I think about also being kind to me?

Well, the truth is I’m much quicker to be kind, thoughtful and forgiving towards others than towards myself. And yet it’s also true that I am more likely to treat others how I treat myself. So during this hard time, when the world seems upside down, maybe this is a pattern that NEEDS to be shaken up.

So….why not try to be kinder to yourself this week.

Do at least one good thing for yourself each day. Maybe you just make a cup of your favorite tea and sit and look out the window at the sky, or watch the birds. Maybe you get in the car and take a drive out in the country. Maybe you bake your favorite dessert. Maybe you give yourself permission to not do one single productive thing all day, order dinner delivered, eat off of paper plates and watch a bunch of movies. Maybe you take a nap in the afternoon. Call someone you miss seeing. Send yourself a greeting card or letter of encouragement. Yes! Yourself! Put that stamp on it and mail it. I guarantee it will make you smile when it arrives.

Next week let’s talk about creating your own happiness no matter what else is going on. You have more power than you think. So until next time, be nice to yourself, YOU deserve it. (Yes,YOU do!)