My new exercise class starts just about the time school does so I’ve been thinking a lot about former students as I try to avoid school zones on my way to the pool.
When I worked in an elementary school, my favorite part of the day was greeting students as they arrived. Kids would jump out of mini-vans eager to start a new day.
One month, the theme at my school was COMPASSION. A teacher shared with me an example of how one of her students showed compassion to another. The next morning, I spotted the student as he got out of the car, I told him how proud I was of his act of kindness. His chest puffed up a bit and as he walked into school. His sister asked him what he did. “There’s this new thing called COMPASSION we’re trying. You try to be kind to others,” he explained.
Kind words make a difference. Over the past two days, I’ve been working harder at making sure my self-talk includes kind words. If I want the eagerness of a skydiver when it comes to embracing healthier routines, I have to encourage small steps and celebrate small steps. I have to talk to myself, like I’d talk to a friend or better yet, my granddog (aka the smartest dog int he world).
This really hit home this afternoon as a visited a relative in a “retirement village”. I sat on the floor of her room reading the latest report from her doctor. When the nurses came in to help her get more comfortable, I was in the way and almost said something snarky about my size or inability to get up quickly. Instead, I caught myself and realized that I could indeed get up without needing to press a button to summons the help of others. Instead of groaning about my stiff joints, I thanked my body for allowing me to independently move.
When I met with my doctor 43 days ago, I didn’t think I’d be in a nursing home having a talk with myself about being nice. My doctor inspired me to make healthy choices now so that my future me will say, “Thank you!”*
*Today as I drove to the nursing facility, I listened to The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes and the reader’s British accent (with a Kentucky hillbilly twang at one point) is the new voice in my head. I don’t think my future self will have a British accent but it’s more fun when my self talk seems fancy so I’m going with it for now.