I could not have made it without the support of family and friends. But at the same time, I had to do the work to heal myself and move on with my life. In the process, I realized that I had to learn to be my own best friend. I had to be my own advocate.
At times, when my internal dialogue veered towards being hard on myself or to be despondent, I asked myself this question: “What if your best friend had come to you, and said that she had that same internal dialogue about herself? What would you say to her?”
When I thought about it, I knew that my response would be to sooth her, tell her not to be too hard on herself, and offer encouragement or a solution. So I started responding to myself in this manner, and I found that this strategy that I had read about, helped a great deal.
My healing, as most are, was spotty, but slowly I felt somewhat stronger. At the end of the year, when the shops were aglow and bustling with gifts and life, when everybody seemed to be happy, I decided that I would like to gift myself, for making it this far.
I wouldn’t buy anything that I need, just whatever that would catch my eye and evoke some excitement. One day, I walked into a Japanese department store, and I saw those small, beautiful blue plates with delicate white flowers. I knew that was my gift.
When I got home, and took out the plates from the package, there was a certain emotion, perhaps of calmness, associated with that act.
After that year I didn’t really keep the gifting as a consistent tradition. Some years I would buy myself a gift at the end of the year, some years I didn’t.
Today, my mind wandered to that tradition. But I think this year I have no need of gifting myself.
That’s because this year I have had the opportunity to spend much more time with family and friends, sharing history and strengthening bonds. I also made several new friends, enjoying the ease with which we could talk for hours, and offering each other support in our endeavors and in our understanding of the world.
That is my gift that has been handed to me this year. Intangible, but probably one of the best.