The Possible Self ‘Developing Self-Kindness’

A new day dawns and a much more atmospheric stage is set,  and as you can see there is someone almost centre stage in his/her boat…..I wonder who and where they are going…beautiful light don’t you think.

The ninth day without coffee and I have no desire to even taste it, truthfully!  I think I am managing to do this because I wrote it down in a public place, (and also possibly because  the time is right).  I have tried it many times and gave up on my resolve and drank copious amounts and continued to complain to myself about drinking it.  I could of course be lying to you all out there, and be drinking coffee and not admitting it, but no, I am not.  I said I would and I am doing it.  It feels really good.  It’s not just about giving up coffee.  It’s about doing what I said I wanted to do for myself, in this case improve my own health by not drinking coffee.  There is no other way but to practice that resolve one day at a time.  As each day passes and I don’t drink coffee, I become more and more confident in making more decisions, keeping to them and reaping the benefits.  Confidence builds self-esteem, and each time you achieve something you set out to do, you build more and more self-esteem every day, every week, every year, every decade.  We can choose to or not to make changes in our lives, but it’s the everyday living out of these changes and plans that get us the results we are looking for: small shifts in our lives give us the confidence to do more and more and enjoy who we are.  If you fall over the first time, get up go again and again,  just keep on doing what you said you would do for yourself because you are worth it.  You matter to you.  What act of kindness could you do for yourself?

I have the attributes to process what I set out to do.  Read that sentence a few times and see how it resonates with you.  That is my perception and my belief, having had over fifty years of life experience on this planet.  I named some of the positive attributes in my first or second blog.  This week is about Kindness.  So let me demonstrate my inner dialogue that has been going on for over 10years about my love/hate relationship with coffee and hearing my possible self telling me “There  is a solution, stop drinking it if your body can’t tolerate it”; and I didn’t listen then… but I am listening now.

10 years ago:  6.30am at work in Dublin
Old self:  I will just get these mails out and then go and buy a large coffee for me and my colleague.  I say this to myself smiling from ear to ear with the expectation and joy of having coffee, and bringing one for her.  Having a coffee on her desk will be a great start to her day.  She loves coffee more than I do.  So that will be a nice thing to do for her.
Morning coffee break is over.

Old self in a cross teacher’s voice:  Why did I drink that coffee, my stomach aches and I have a headache.  I wish I hadn’t done it.  You stupid woman, you know better, why do you do that to yourself every day?
Possible self in a calm and loving voice:  You know you could stop buying and drinking it.
Old self doesn’t really listen…mumbles something or other about good idea, as she makes a pot of coffee for the office…6 mugs for two and it’s just 11am.
Possible self in a soft and loving voice:  Remember how you feel after coffee!
Old self hears the voice and takes the tray of coffee drinking crockery to their desks.

Lunch time
Old self smiling: Main meal is over, so I will have a large cappuccino please.
Possible self in a loving and kind voice: Remember how you feel when you drink coffee
Old self ignores the voice.

There is one more coffee making session at three o clock, 6 mugs for two people, and that was it for the day.  Old self drank close to 2 litres + of coffee per day on average in those days.

There wasn’t a hope for me to follow what the possible self was telling me.  The language I used in my mind about myself and my behaviour was in no way kind or respectful of myself.  The action and ritual I liked so much, ‘drinking coffee’, caused the self-berating and my intolerance to coffee.

There are only two choices:
1. Continue with the action and behaviour of the old self, because it was my pattern, habit and or ritual
2. Listen to the possible self, stop drinking coffee and feel better and not go through the self-berating everyday

Ten years ago, I was in media production and there was a lot to do every day, meetings, schedules etc. etc. The irony of it all was that I ate very healthy food, drank wine modestly and exercised….so why would I treat my body so?  Five years, and a lot of soul-searching, creative personal work later, I was drinking a tenth of the coffee I had been drinking.  I had changed my attitude, my pattern, and was more mindful of my actions and behaviours, I developed a very different way to be with myself.   I could see the lack of self-kindness, I could see the addiction, I could see the habit, I could see where I did not take time to take stock and see the treadmill I was on.  The choice was always there. I wouldn’t feed my plants 2 litres of coffee a day so why would I feed my body so.  I was kind to my plants but not myself!

To-day, I am achieving to not drink coffee by being kind to myself as I would to my plants and in turn to those around me.  Being kind to yourself is a daily practice just like it is to not drink coffee.  When I am angry, I can be unkind and say things that are really for my own ears only, and not the other person.  Being kind is how we are in the world every day.  As the Dalai Lama says “Kindness is Society”:  if you don’t have kindness in society you don’t have a society… and it begins with each of us, you and me!  And for me it began with not drinking coffee and practicing self-kindness each day in achieving my resolve.   Being kinder to yourself makes it easier to be kind to others… which I am most of the time.

How kind are you to you?

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