I have curated quite a lovely social media bubble in the last several years. I live in a Red State and I have a lot of family who don’t agree with me on issues around race, reproductive choice, or gender and sexuality…so for me? My social media experience is a safe place. I have to face all of the “opposing views” in the real world every day, I get to choose who I interact with on social media.
SO! I was pleasantly surprised that 99% of my social media yesterday was people posting their support for Simone Biles. (If you criticized her decision, you are reading the wrong blog. I suggest you find something else to read this morning.)
But…I know a lot of those people personally. The ones who shouted “WAY TO GO, SIMONE!” to the hills. And…they beat themselves up for similar decisions on a much smaller scale.
And I did (sometimes still do) too, so I know that feeling well.
Some of it is in athletics. Back in my ultra-marathon days, when I missed a run – even if it was because I was hurt or tired – I beat myself up. I know a lot of people who do the same thing if they miss a workout class they normally attend. Or if they oversleep and can’t do their morning workout, they kill themselves to try to get one in at the end of the day. I wish all of those people would be as kind to themselves as they were to Simone Biles yesterday.
But most of it? Is not centered around athletics. Most of us make decisions contrary to our mental and physical health to meet some random “goal” or self-imposed “status.” And the funny thing is…we would never support people we love doing the same: putting arbitrary goals above their own mental or physical health.
How many of us are exhausted at the end of the day and want nothing more than to go to bed but we remember: Wait. I have to finish the laundry. And then…are we too take a nap the next day? (I spent almost a DECADE being too proud to take a nap. Now I LOVE NAPS.) Or do we feel too much shame to ask for help because of some stupid programming that tells us something is our responsibility and asking for help is a sign of failure?
How many of us work more than 40 hours a week at our job even though we’re sacrificing time with friends and family and with ourselves, because we feel like we have to in order to keep the professional trajectory and accompanying salary that our families are used to? What about the small things like when you just want to skip that social outing because your tank is empty but you’re worried: But what will this do to my position in the group? Will I miss important social interactions?
How many things do we beat ourselves up for every day because we feel like we should be performing at a higher standard?
Who set those standards? Why are we trying to live up to standards that force us to put our own well-being last on the list of priorities? If we are offering kindness and support to Simone Biles who prioritized her health on a global stage with the spotlight of the Olympics, why can’t we do the same to ourselves in our own home, in our workplace, or in our peer groups?
If you were kind to Simone yesterday…if you were proud of her for making a decision to prioritize her health – mental and physical – then are being as kind to yourself every day?