Go the extra yard to be kind to yourself

Last Thursday as usual I stepped out of the Stanford university library at 9 AM to call my mum back in the UK.

I try to call her right on the stroke of nine as she’s almost always sitting in her kitchen waiting for my call.

Almost always I sit on a park bench immediately outside the library to speak to mum.

It’s convenient.

Last week though, something made me decide to sit somewhere else, and so it was that I found myself perched on a low wall in Stanford’s main “Quad”, a giant courtyard surrounded by university buildings, with the astounding Memorial Church as its focal point.

My usual view when I'm making the phone call
My usual view when I’m making the phone call. Not bad but…

It only took a minute to walk from the usual park bench to my new vantage point in the Quad but it meant that instead of having a pretty non-descript blank wall in front of me during the call, my eyes were treated to the sumptuous sight of the church’s mosaic-encrusted facade.

I even described it to my mum, telling her that I wished she could see what I was looking at.

The view from just 50 yards further
…wait until you see the view from just 50 yards further on

It made me remember how good it can feel to go the extra mile (or in my case just 50 yards) to do something kind for yourself.

I’m sure you’re good at showing others kindnesses, but perhaps you don’t always extend this principle to yourself?

You wouldn’t be the first to fail to do so.

Why not think about this in the day ahead therefore?

Lay a place for yourself the table even if you’re eating alone.

Light a candle.

Drink your coffee from a posh cup instead of that chipped mug.

Use the nice soap in the bathroom rather than your usual day-to-day bar.

It’s often possible to give yourself small treats without going too far out of your way.

But a self administered small treat can give you an unexpected lift.

14 thoughts on “Go the extra yard to be kind to yourself

  1. Hi Jon
    Thank you for today’s gentle reminder that simple pleasures can often bring unexpected joy. I try to live my life being kind and thoughtful to other’s, but am all too guilty of forgetting to be kind to myself, in fact, if anything, I am very hard on myself. So, today I will make a special effort to remember to go that extra mile for ME!!
    Sally

  2. I loved today’s post. I’d add something else: if being kind to yourself means postponing plans, go ahead and postpone. Sometimes it’s just to hard to put your Game Face on and a bit of hibernation is called for.

    1. I’m with you on that one, Tania
      Hybernation is my favourite Nation to visit when I want to recharge.
      I’m keen to visit it’s neighbour to, ProcrastiNation, when I can find the time.
      Seriously, as an Introvert, and proud of it, quiet time is not a luxury, it is essential.
      Hope you emerge from Hibernation renewed, refreshed and inspired.
      Lex

  3. Well worth remembering!

    I also like – if I’m feeling well and up to it – to give gifts to my future self. Do things in advance to make life easier for myself when I know I’ll be tired or not in the mood – even if it’s just something ordinary like making sure the kitchen is nice to come home to when I’ve been out or away, or preparing something nice to eat for later, so it becomes a treat, given to me by me.

      1. Me too Lex. Thanks Mary – super idea. I can just imagine forgetting that you’d set something up for yourself like that, and being surprised when you get home.

  4. Good advice! So today I am going to break out the good coffee and savour it. Also spend a little more time meditating and let the work I have to do wait for once!

  5. Thank you for this reminder.

    I’ve recently learned that taking these departures from our usual routine helps our brain to stay active and to continue learning new things. The recommendation was, if you’re trying to learn a new skill, make sure that you drive home along a different route each day. So it isn’t just a gift of self-kindness to take these little detours, it helps our brains, too. 🙂

  6. Kelly added this via email (thanks Kelly):

    Yes small thoughtful gifts to ones self can make all the difference to a day. 

    Yesterday my day was planned, golf was on the calendar, although the weather was not accommodating.

    It was far too cold to enjoy the round.

    What to do?

    With dog in tow, a visit to the Rose Garden situated on the shores of Lake Superior was my destination.

    I decided to be a tourist in my own city. 

    Upon arriving at the destination my enthusiasm was short lived, it was cold!

    Especially with the wind coming off the lake. 

    It is amazing how quickly the mind can process information and devise a new plan.

    Before I had time to blink, the mind reprogrammed the day to a brief walk in the gardens and than a return home to warmth and comfort. 

    Because I had visualized my intentions before starting the journey,

    I stopped and pondered my options.

    If I was truly on vacation, I would find a way to enjoy this moment.

    With that thought I quickly went back to the car, rooted around till I found a blanket and wrapped myself in it. 

    Now I was prepared to see, feel, and experience the beauty of the environment in comfort and it was spectacular.

    Clear, crisp, and invigorating on the outside and toasty warm on the inside. 

    A perfect pairing for a truly “gift to myself” day.

    I find when I allow myself to experience the present moment,

    it is one of the kindest, most loving actions I can do for myself.

    And paradoxically one of the most difficult. 

    Just a thought, if one could view the “present moment experience” as physical exercise, one may find it easier to get into shape. 

    I enjoy your nudges, thank you. 

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