You Should Always Be Nice to Yourself

San Diego’s version of fall has arrived. We don’t do seasons here, but the delayed shift from summer has occurred, and its palpable to all. The air is crisp, the water is a few degrees cooler, the leaves are orange and red, and the blue of the sky has changed to match the ocean. The skies were crystal clear this weekend and the sun shown bright. I am moving through the latter-end of a hangover, and (as Incubus says) “in this moment I am happy.” Friday evening, I got home after a less-than-awesome week at work. I was planning on chilling anyway, and was pleasantly surprised when my mom told me my six year-old cousin, Danica and her two-month-old baby brother, Christopher, would be coming over so we could babysit them. Danica decided she wanted to color, so my mom grabbed a freezer storage-sized bag of various colored sharpies, I got my journal and glass of wine, and Danica and I colored. My thing is I like to draw this one tree over and over again, it looks like this:

Drawing is awesome. When you draw something, you are creating something. I am curious about the existence of the causal relationship between creation and happiness. Does creating something make you happy? I think the obvious, instinctive answer is yes, but why? I googled this topic, and stumbled upon a stupendous stumbler titled, “Creation is Happiness” (Check it out at Anyways, I digress. I don’t remember how we got on the topic, but I told Danica that I was not a very good colorer generally. Danica countered, “I think you are a good colorer, Natalie. You shouldn’t be mean to yourself. You should always be nice to yourself.” I looked at my mom, I was stunned that a six year-old had basically just called me on my shit. Be nice to yourself. If we were all six-years-old, we’d be saying the same thing. I think everyone fights negative self-talk, some more than others. What was interesting about Danica’s comment, was that it made me realize that the self-talk is just a pattern of behavior that evolves over time. If we all shook the etch-a-sketch, lost all of our emotional baggage at customs, and started anew, what would our chatter sound like? I think there would be silence. Imagine a silent mind. Imagine for a second the bliss of a silent mind. Imagine the things you could accomplish. Instead of agonizing over what I’m going to do with the rest of my life, why David never texted me back, or what that hard round bump on my toe is, imagine instead: silence. I am seeking silence, and I am starting to believe it is attainable. I do believe you have to find faith, your faith, whatever it may be. It may be hodgepodge! It may be a stew filled with ingredients from all different schools of thought and theology. Even as I take the first baby steps with The Surfer Stoke Project, I feel a light growing within my heart. It’s like I’ve just woken up from a coma, and the world is new to me again. I feel it on the tips of my fingers like there’s so much out there, that there is something, and I feel, for the first time in a long time, I have work I’m meant to do. Like everything I want is available for the taking, if I just work hard, believe, and explore.

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