It's Okay to Be Nice to Ourselves

I recently worked with a client in his bedroom. He had a tall bookshelf right by his bed. Just asking him about it made him grimace and breathe in quickly and hold his breath. The body doesn't lie.

He opened up about it and said that he sees the books every night before he goes to bed and it's a constant nagging and chastising reminder of all the books he hasn't yet read. He'd go to bed feeling terrible. He'd been living with this bully by his bed for years.

I asked him if he'd like to go through the books. He said he wasn't sure. I said if there were racoons by his bed instead, he would immediately be on the phone with the exterminators. He got it.

We went through the books. He let go of a good amount. And then he put the ones he wanted to keep in the downstairs bookcase. I talked with my client today and he said that he'd been having amazing nights sleep every evening since.

We can sometimes allow ourselves to remain in a painful situation that we can do something about. If we saw it happen to someone else, we would want to help them. But there's something about our culture that makes it okay to let ourselves suffer.

I've been in that situation sometimes myself too. I'll endure some uncomfortableness that I don't question. And then suddenly a feeling comes in, "Dude, you don't need to be doing this." The insight is a light-shiner. "Oh, yeah. I don't." And I immediately do something about it.

We don't need to chastise ourselves for this habit. The best thing we can do is recognize we're uncomfortable and readjust our lives so we're feeling good again. It's okay to be nice to ourselves.