I’ve been in a funk lately, avoiding anything that makes me think too hard—like writing blog posts. In the past, I would’ve been beating myself up about this. Of course, those castigating thoughts are still there, but I continue my practice of being more gentle with myself. It took me some time to get to this gentle and aware place this go around, though, so instead I’ve been checking out a lot lately.
Woman playing video games. That is how I am thinking of my current state instead of I am too lazy and pathetic to do more productive things. This practice of naming things objectively is one I read about in one of Toni Bernhard‘s books.
I’ve also been working a lot. Lots of Holiday pet sitting. Also learning a new work-from-home office job. It hasn’t all been sitting around playing games on my phone. In the past, I might’ve justified my checking out due to the fact I am working a lot, although there’s always the voice reminding me that I still work nowhere near full-time and am, therefore, lazy and useless. My Practice helps me stay out of that rabbit hole. After all, one’s value cannot be objectively tied to any humanly subjective measurement.
Instead, I focus on what is. Woman playing video games. This space allows me to contemplate my actions on a less emotional basis (and my emotions too). For instance, I can see that part of checking out comes from my usual pattern of depression flare around this time of year. It’s a common problem for many people. The days get shorter and colder. There’s all the forced societal cheer of the Holidays that for many of us aren’t terribly cheerful.
When I remain more objective, I can see that checking out is my way of dealing with this lurking depression, that it keeps my head above water. This is, of course, a better outcome than what happened last year when I drowned in the depression, but it is also not the ideal way I want to be. It may, however, be the best self I can be currently. I have to be patient and see how each moment unfolds and what I can handle. The more aware and objective I stay, the more I can make conscious choices.
The key is I am not making things worse by castigating myself. There is something to this gentleness approach, to trying my best to allow myself to love myself, which is really, really hard. Life is a work in progress.