Wednesday, December 17, 2008

how to be good.

I'm feeling really good today. I've been eating well the last two days, and have been super-productive in other areas too. I don't know about you, but I just feel so much happier when life is ticking along like this.

My poor sweetheart has been working 18-20 hour days for the last two weeks (including weekends) on a project that has had one unexpected problem after another. I honestly don't know how he's doing it, the poor guy. Anyway, I've been trying to make an extra effort to keep the apartment clean, make sure he has clean clothes and towels, picking up healthy snacks he can grab on the run, etc, so that the little time he DOES spend at home is as easy and stress-free as possible. It feels nice to take care of him, but I have to wonder: why is it so hard to be good to other people, and so hard to be good to ourselves?

I never thought I was one of those people who needed to learn that lesson; I thought my problem was that I was TOO good to myself. I'd spend hours zoning out in front of the tv, ignoring the housework and other responsibilities, and eat a giant bag of Doritos or a box of eclairs. If that wasn't being good to yourself, I didn't know what was.

But the result of that behaviour was anything but good. I got fat. My house was always messy. I never had enough clean clothes. I never bothered to straighten my hair or put on make-up in the morning. I'd feel like shit all day, stressing out about how terrible I looked and how out of control I felt. Be good to yourself, I'd say, and eat another brownie to calm down. Get a bottle of wine tonight, and order some Swiss Chalet, and that'll make you feel better.

And it would make me feel better, in the short-term. But the next day was the same story. Cookies are wonderful things but they don't do your laundry. They don't file your taxes, or vacuum your floor, or clean the cat box. And they don't make you healthy.

Why is it, say, with S., that my instinct is to make things better for him? To keep the apartment clean, make sure his favourite shirts are washed and that there are fresh towels when he has a shower? To say, 'there's yogurt and apples and spinach salad with chicken in the fridge for you to take to work'? I would never, in times like this, even THINK about saying, "I know you're stressed out, so I've kept the apartment extra messy. Here, come sit in the dark and eat this cheesecake with me, that'll make you feel better."

Anyway, it's a funny thing. Maybe sometimes, the way to be good to yourself is to put your foot down, a least a little, on some of the self-indulgent and unproductive behaviour. Maybe being good to yourself is doing laundry and having spinach salad, and not slacking off on the laundry and having a bag of chips. WHO KNEW?