It’s almost Christmas now, and the final flurry is upon us. The final flurry of shopping, gift buying, planning, preparing, entertaining, wrapping, decorating, cleaning, partying, concert and church-going.
Many of us focus now, but not only now, on others–and on being kind and understanding toward other people. Christmas urges that upon us. “Peace and goodwill toward all.” A good thing, the world needs it.
But have you noticed that at least some of us extend peace and goodwill to others, but to ourselves not so much. We are understanding with others, but are silently reading ourselves the riot act. We don’t expect perfection from others, but we ask it of ourselves. We cut others plenty of slack, but ourselves?
So maybe this is a season for practicing “Peace and goodwill toward all,” and including you in the “all.” Who, after all, decided “all” doesn’t include you? What, you think you’re better than everyone else?
What does being kind to myself mean? For me it means, watching my “self talk,” and speaking kindly, mercifully, and affirmatively to myself. It means paying attention to my “ADL’s,” activities of daily living, like good sleep, nutrition, and exercise. It means asking for help. It means daily prayer. It can mean saying “no,” because saying “yes,” would either push me over some edge or into resentment. It means accepting the forgiveness that God has for each of us, myself included.
Being kind to yourself does not mean having another cookie, when you’ve already had enough. It doesn’t mean having another drink, when you’ve had enough. It doesn’t mean self indulgence. It means self-care.
So this holiday season, “Peace and goodwill toward all,” including you!
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul’s Letters to Timothy for a New Day. You can read Tony’s “Weekly Meditation” and “What’s Tony Thinking?” at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.