I was preparing a programme the other day, and was looking at things that comfort us as part of it. It suddenly struck me that the original meaning of the word comfort is: things that give us strength, that bring us back to our own power. This puts quite a different slant on what makes us feel comfortable.

For example, we often talk about comfort eating, and it has a derogatory feel to it, yet if you think about it as food that gives us strength, we are more likely to choose to eat a hearty home-made soup or casserole than a packet of biscuits. Similarly, comfortable clothes shift from old clothes we slop abut in to the clothing that makes us feel ready to deal with our day in an empowered way.

Notice that this doesn’t mean that we have to ‘dress up’ or not eat those chocolates: it isn’t another set of rules about what we should do. It just means we ask ourselves what would make me feel more ‘myself’, more at my best. I used to have a neighbour who would shower and put on make-up before she did anything else, every single morning and I never understood it. She would say that she wasn’t comfortable dealing with anyone or anything until she had done that – and she had two small boys, so I thought it was incredible to do all that for yourself before sorting out the kids – what vanity! Now I understand – she was just giving herself a chance to be in her power. My comfort in the morning is my 15 minutes of quiet time, 2 cups of coffee – same effect, different method – and I took years longer than her to realise how important it is!

This definition of comfort has got me thinking about lots of other things in a different way: ‘feel-good’ movies, which comfort me by reminding me of the best of human qualities; music that lifts the spirit; jewellery that represents me being fully me; objects that remind me of times when I was on form.

So what comforts – things that strengthen you – do you have available to you, to use more often? What helps you to feel more you, more in your own power? Look at what you choose to eat, what you choose to wear, because they are affecting you in your day. And when you need that extra something, when you are feeling a bit off, how can you add to your own comfort? What reminds you of the real you that you could use to help yourself?

There are so many ways we can help ourselves to be more comfortable, to be ourselves. So give yourself some lovely comfortable days!

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