Whatever the weather: Committing to compassion | SteamboatToday.com

Whatever the weather: Committing to compassion


Katie Berning

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The start to my latest solo skinning ascent on Blackmer was reminiscent of most of 2020.

I had a negative loop going through my head about my early ski season condition. I was annoyed with myself for getting fatigued so quickly. I felt out of shape and wanted to give up.

Then I recognized a woman running past me up the trail, a counselor who helped me through some grief this fall. Seeing her reminded me of something that we worked on during our sessions: compassion.

Her simple smile and wave helped change my thought pattern to focus on some of the obstacles my brain and body have gotten me through this year. It felt empowering to continue pushing myself after all the turmoil of 2020. With a new attitude, an unfurrowed brow and a lightness to my steps, the hike to the Quarry flew by.

So, I decided my New Year’s theme will be compassion. I want to work on practicing compassion for myself and others.

To set myself up for success, I’m going to be taking a lot more personal inventory. That includes kicking the negative self-talk, doing more check-ins (yes, the feelings kind) and surrounding myself with supportive people.

I’m starting out by being kinder to my exercising self. Just because I was in better shape years ago doesn’t mean I’m not getting out there. I successfully completed a workout challenge, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for the whole month of December. That’s not nothing.

Recognizing those accomplishments helps fuel kindness and compassion in my self-talk. Next time you have a low-energy workout, pat yourself on the back for showing up on your skis (or any of the activities that are helping you get through). Pat yourself on the back for listening to your body if you just decided to cozy up with some tea.

Passing compassion along to others can be as simple as making the choice to smile more (let’s see those sm-eyes!) or checking in with your friends and family a little more often as we maneuver through 2021.

Now this can all seem pretty cheesy. And it is a little cheesy. But unless we start bringing some compassion into our lives, we will have learned nothing from 2020. We can be friends with people with different beliefs. We can help strangers. We can ask for help. We can get through this.

The year 2020 had a lot of firsts that sent many of us into tailspins grappling with anxiety, isolation and uncertainty. So, when you see that person struggling to make it up the hill, give a little encouragement. Sometimes that smile and wave is all it takes to help them make it the rest of the way.

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