The Sunday Sermon: Be Nicer to Yourself

Welcome to another Sunday Sermon. The topic for today is managing life when shit doesn't go how you imagine, and truly how we need to be gentle with ourselves in these times. 

I have to admit, I might need this sermon as much, if not more than anyone else. I, since I was very young, have been an incredibly harsh self-critic. My mom has mentioned pretty often that when I "get a picture in my mind of how I want something to go or look", there's nothing that can please me until reality finally matches up with that picture. 

Pretty often reality never goes how we imagine. So, you can understand how problematic that can be for someone like me.

I see the flaws more than the progress. I focus on what still needs to be fixed, versus taking pride in the strides that have been made. 

For example, I've worked out hard 6 days a week consistently through quarantine and have remained 90% consistent with eating a healthy diet, but instead of seeing the strength I've created, when I look in the mirror, my eye immediately goes to my problem areas. 

The negative comments are ugly. 

"Why haven't you leaned out more in the last 8 weeks?" 

"Be careful with cranking the resistance on that Peloton, maybe you'll get bulky. I think my legs are getting bigger." 

I'll even text friends with a photo and the question "do my calves look like their getting that 'cycling' look?" 

And what was supposed to be a journey to better health and feeling better became something aesthetically driven and ultimately NOT healthy

And this happens when I am executing the plan. Now imagine how hard I can be on myself when I slip, or something happens outside of my control that makes it harder to stay on track. 

Yesterday, I was hungry and had no meals prepped -- that led to slice of lamb pizza, a glass of sweetened limeade, and later, pork belly tacos. 

And later, of course, a stomach ache. And later still, guilt. Enormous guilt and disappointment. 

Why hadn't I planned better? 

Last week, I found out one of my favorite people on earth, my grandma, suddenly doesn't remember who I am. 

Let that sink in. 

All of a sudden, it's "who's Trysta?" That lead to a "fuck it I'll just crush a pint of Halo Top and watch Netflix for the next 6 hours straight" 

That led to guilt. What haven't I called more? Why did I slip into emotional eating? I thought I was stronger than that. 

Because I'm not a fucking robot. I'm human. You are human. 

No matter how much we structure our life perfectly to achieve whatever goal we set, no matter how organized we are, life can come in whenever it wants, however it wants and derail us.  

And in those moments, we should be gentle. We should take a deep breath and acknowledge we're doing our very best (because mostly we are) and give ourselves a break. 

7 weeks ago, before anyone knew how long this pandemic was going to last, I wrote about how great quarantine might be for our fitness. I thought it was going to be easy to get my groove back. I had fallen off my routine once I transitioned to NY and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get dialed back in. 

I hadn't thought about how hard it would be to get healthy groceries. Not only is it scary to go out, stand in line and shop, but most stores are totally cleaned out.

I didn't exactly expect that. 

Grocery delivery services aren't exactly going smoothly either. Delivery windows are sometimes two to three weeks out. And many times I've had to re-order because none of what I selected showed up in my bag when it was delivered. 

Yikes. 

I hadn't thought about how living through the pandemic itself can strip you of your motivation to do anything. I didn't think about how little I would move other than the hour or so I worked out a day and walked my dog. I didn't think about how much I'd think about when I could see my family again or any friends or any romantic interests. Truly, I didn't think about the emotional consequences of isolation.

But as I write this, I'm vowing to be gentler to myself. Because the more rigid something is, the less likely it is to bend. And the less something bends, the more likely it is to break.

Quarantine won't break me. It won't break you. It won't break us. We may have to bend more than we're used to and be kinder to ourselves for our mistakes. But when we do this, we give ourselves the best chance possible to get out of this in one piece. 

Because right now, with everything we're dealing with and going through, even staying the same should be considered a win.

So my message is, be gentle. Tell yourself you're doing great and looking great. Find nice things to say about yourself to yourself especially if you're quarantining alone. If you won't do it, who will?