An Underrated Act of Self-Kindness
I'm going to spill the beans up front here:
Gratitude is a tremendous act of self-kindness.
I really got this the other Saturday morning. I'd nabbed my favorite corner table at my favorite coffee shop. From this coveted perch, I jotted down a few things I was grateful for from the week: ears and eyes that work, those doughy pretzels at baseball games, washers and dryers.
As I wrote, I realized I liked who I was when I was thankful. And who I was was softer and more generous, easily delighted and awed. I was a bit like a two-year-old version of me. Or any one of us.
Gratitude can return us to ourselves. Gently slide us out of the never enough, cynical, future-focused hunch we adults are trained and constrained into. And closer towards wide-eyed reverence for all we've been given in this moment.
I think we're born with this reverence. But it can get pinched and prodded out of us in the great big pressure to go-go-go, achieve, do and be more. All of which can drag us further and further away from ourselves.
But what I got that Saturday morning at my favorite table was that gratitude - that uncomplicated and gorgeous bit of feeling - can pull us back.
And anything that returns us to ourselves is an act of self-kindness.