A recent article in the NY Times asked the question: Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?
That question is the basis for a line of research in an area called self-compassion, which sounds like new age hokeyness, but simply means that we’re better off physically, emotionally and mentally when we are gentle with ourselves. Too many people I know berate themselves over the smallest things – eating a donut, letting their child watch a video, skipping a yoga class.
The article claims that when you have self-compassion, you also have more self-respect, which translates into a healthier lifestyle. So in other words, you can enjoy a donut without eating the whole box. That’s my metaphor – the NY Times puts it much more professionally.
My Grandma Nora turned 98 this week and it made me think about the factors behind her remarkable quality and length of life thus far. She would tell you it’s just luck, and there’s that. Genetics, a family that fed her and educated her, being in the right place at the right time. And those are all true.
But beyond that, I always think of her temperanent.
She’s astonishly flexible, able to embrace change and not let the small things – or even the major things – cause undue stress. Nora is a good example of someone who is self-compassionate, who can do as Hugh does when he takes a fall and gets right up and mutters to himself: “brush it off, brush it off.” And starts running – and smiling – again.