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Fuzzy Slippers

My fuzzy slippers have become my one of my best sources of comfort thanks to the pandemic. However, due to an excessive amount of social distancing my poor slippers have gone through their own conversion experience since “fuzzy” is no longer an accurate descriptive. Maybe old and reliable are better descriptive words. I put them on when I get up each day. They are present during Zoom calls and even when I go to the mailbox. Just like in life, familiar, is not always a word that brings sustainable comfort or lasting satisfaction to our minds. What does this word even mean with so much change occurring all around us? My mindful exercises have me noticing how my feet do not feel firmly planted inside my slippers with a whole lot more wiggle room inside! Most definitely, familiar definitely does not have the same fit.

Pre -Covid meant that we didn’t have to spend time with or by ourselves if we didn’t want to. In some ways it was easier in the fast- paced world we lived in. Getting lost in the “feel goods”, even if it was just for the day, the moment, the year gave us that quick fix of dopamine. Each day brought new opportunities to meet and to laugh. Possibly accompanying all of this make merriment was the real motive: to distract from the fears, shame or sadness that was buried within. Who or what helps you define comfort and connection? More importantly during these tumultuous times how easy or difficult is it to find these precious commodities? Life has certainly slowed down and what remains constant is the person that you spend the most time with- yourself. Without all the distractions from the past we are left with a choice. We can get to the point in which we genuinely love ourselves or continue to grope to find new distractions to bring comfort and relief, however temporary or fleeting they might be.

It is no wonder why so many people avoid making this genuine connection with self. It can mean time sitting with painful memories when mistakes or loss occurred, and life took yet another turn. Spending time with yourself can require you to learn some new, healthier habits and/or perspectives while discarding some of the old familiar ones. I know, I know you are starting to ask this writer, “why go to the bother?” Consider what happens if you continue to avoid addressing how unhappy you are with yourself. You and I both know that the problem doesn’t go away on its own, it only grows bigger.

Humor me and try this exercise. Tell yourself out loud, “I deserve to be loved”. Take some time to really let that soak in. Reflect on the times in your life when you possibly invested more time, love and energy on another person than they were willing to return. Perhaps you grew up in a household with someone whose behavior indicated that your role was to cater to their emotional needs which left yours ignored and unattended. Notice what happens when someone from the past or a more recent experience with a current so- called friend is confronted with your concern after you point out examples from this skewed dynamic in the relationship. They may begin to emotionally withdraw or direct the blame at you in hopes that you feel responsible for this distance. They want you to feel uneasy with the distance and incomplete in the alone times. The message that they want you to embrace is that some connection is better than none and they get to define how to do relationship. Expressing oneself is part of getting your needs met. If familiar connections do not embrace choice or convey that their needs matter more it is time to notice them for what they are and learn how to not give into their ways any longer. You deserve to experience love that is not based on conditions or one-sided. You deserve to know that another person can not complete you, only you can complete yourself.

Although Covid has thrown many challenges at us including the need to love ourselves. However, taking the time to reflect on our familiar choices and how we do connect with self and others can be a blessing in disguise. The answers about how to define self are not found by relying on others or masking the problem with a life full of distractions. The answers are found in giving yourself what you truly deserve. Begin today to not settle in life for the familiar but by focusing on what you deserve. Which reminds me, I think I am going to order some new slippers today!

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