Handing me the phone my husband said, “It’s the dermatologist’s office.” As I listened, the nurse informed me that the biopsy on my leg showed severe stage pre-cancer tissue with horizontal spreading roots. Surgery to remove it needed to be scheduled. A referral to a plastic surgeon of my choice would be made. My first thought was that I didn’t want to handle one more, even small, thing right now. My second thought was I need to love myself. I was feeling fragile.
Feeling fragile is not a sign of weakness — it’s a sign of sensitivity to what is happening in our lives. When we’re fragile we experience what is happening with an intensity that can lead to feeling overwhelmed, and most of us have experienced that. We can use our fragileness to become victims threatened by circumstances, and react by building protective walls around ourselves. Or we can choose to stay calm, find our balance, validate our self-worth, and love ourselves through the challenging situation.
Combining healthy self-care with mindfulness will help us navigate those times of feeling fragile. This has everything to do with loving ourselves. Jen Underwood writes, “See the places that are tender within you, and move carefully around them. Show then love and kindness. Erase the judgement. And move very, very, slowly.” It’s time to give ourselves permission to thoughtfully determine what it is we want or need in this given moment. And then, without guilt, give ourselves permission to do just that. This creates a beautiful oasis of gentle self-care that is nurturing.
One of the best ways to love our fragile selves is to be grateful for who we are and what we have right now. With gratitude we can value ourselves without validation from anyone else, and we can honor being true to ourselves over being perfect. Gratitude can turn pain and frustration into a motivator, and acknowledges that we are in control of the way we look at our life. Through the eyes of gratitude we can see the presence of the Divine in everything that happens, and we know we are being handled with loving care, whatever the circumstances.
We handle ourselves with loving care when we embrace what is. One of the greatest presents we can give ourselves is to pay close attention to our life as we’re living it. So much is lost when we pay attention to the distraction we carry in the palm of our hand. If we can be consistently present, we experience the beauty and depth of each moment. Life is about what happens between now and our next breath and, whatever that holds, acceptance is the door that brings in grace. It’s out of acceptance that the solution arises.
We especially need to forgive ourselves for past mistakes when we’re feeling fragile. The light of forgiveness banishes our dark places so we can let go of the past. In Eckhart Tolle’s words, “Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” Once we do this we can start making needed changes. Then we can move away from things that drain us, and move toward what nourishes and fulfills us.
Doing what makes us happy is another way of handling ourselves with loving care. When we do things we care about we’re nurtured and refreshed. Kayaking is something I enjoy doing so, even though there is work involved in organizing supplies, loading and unloading, and washing them down after use, I have a grateful tiredness. The quiet time out on the water is worth the effort. Doing things that make us happy is loving self-care.
We handle ourselves with loving care when we’re honest with ourselves about everything. This means expressing our pain without reckless, unchecked behavior. It means comforting ourselves when we’re anxious and listening to our intuition when we’re decision-making. When we want to try something new, we don’t let not knowing how it will turn out keep us from beginning. Marc Chernoff writes, “When we act, uncertainty chases us out into the open where opportunity awaits.” Let’s believe in our abilities and acknowledge our skills. When we’re having a fragile moment, let’s remember that the best way to navigate rough waters is to handle ourselves with loving care.
Until Next time – Sylvia