I’ve started reading Just One Thing: developing a Buddha brain one simple practice at a time. The first chapter is entitled “Be for Yourself.” The idea of the book overall is that by taking on the practice of simple things every day, you can support and increase your sense of security and worth, and inner peace. I really want that inner peace thing. How you go about practicing these simple things are up to the person themselves, but the truth is that you need to practice in order for things to change.
I’ve decided that I need to focus on one thing a week. There are 52 practices in the book, so theoretically, I could practice one new thing a week. Seems far too linear for me. I’m going to practice one new thing, for at least a week. I may stay longer on some practices than others. I may need to return to a practice a few times over and over as I can be slow learner on things that are particular to self-care. The first practice is “be for yourself.”
Be for yourself sounds so simple – as do most of the practices in the book. If you aren’t prepared to be on your own side, really, why should anyone else. But what does being on your own side really mean?
One of the questions was to explore the qualities of a good friend and to ask yourself whether I was that kind of friend to myself. The truth of the matter was that I was often not as good of a friend to myself as I am to other people. When I am having a bad day and I am ashamed of something I’ve done, I’ve yelled at myself and I’ve called myself some nasty names inside my head. Even when trying to shift that negative voice in my head, I’ve not been gentle with myself.
Since starting to be more mindful, I’ve been trying to be much kinder to myself, even before starting to read this book. Trying gentleness in re-directing the negative script in my head. Reminding myself that how I was talking to myself was NEVER how I would have talked to anybody else. Letting go of not only the negative self talk, but practicing gentleness to myself in shifting that negative talk into more encouraging words was a process that has taken some time. I had to learn how to be in my own corner.
Practicing “being for myself” has meant that I’ve started to ask myself at various points of the day which course of action would be in my best interests. By best interests that did not mean just what I wanted to do in a particular situation, but really taking the time to stop and think about what action would serve me best. It meant being conscious in my choices that I was making and being intentional in what I was choosing to do.
Taking care of yourself is about putting your own oxygen mask on just like they tell you to do on the airplane. You can’t save anyone else, or yourself, if you don’t put your oxygen mask on. As it states as the last point in this chapter:
“When you take good care of yourself, then you have more to offer others, from the people close to you in the whole wide world.”