|Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.|
|THICH NHAT HANH|
If that is not the perfect definition of real “self-care”, what is?
So many years ago a therapist told me to imagine myself as a child, and to comfort her. It’s interesting to revisit this now. Back then, I was in the position of an older sister. And now – I’m old enough to be a grandmother to her, and the exercise is an entirely different experience.
It’s funny to notice how easily my attention turns back to my current self and my current “sorrows”. Even in the midst of the exercise: “Oh, but what child takes an old woman’s words seriously?”
But I do notice this happening, and I can smile at myself – at both the my sorrows and my silliness. I’m counting this as a sign of maturity, as well as proof that I am still gloriously fallible, i.e. human.
Tending to wounds becomes habitual. So habitual that we learn early how to make them ourselves, to serve our tending.
We cut ourselves down to be able to experience nurturing. Even if we are alone in nurturing ourselves.
And maybe this isn’t a wholly bad thing: maybe this is how we learn to recognize our better selves.
This morning I’m thinking I don’t want to lose this complex relationship with myself. I’m not ready to even aspire to be singular – as the wisest version of myself. It’s enough that I glimpse her now and then these days. I’m not ready to give up childishness entirely. What if that means an end to growing –
when I’ve so much still to learn?