Why is it so much easier to be kind to others rather than myself? Do you have that? I know we always hear: “You can’t love others until you love yourself.” And that’s the gods’ truth. That one I learned a ways back.
But kindness is a different story. At least in my life. I can be kind to my friends, my neighbors, my dogs, and strangers. And am, most of the time. I know when a friend needs a hand hold or a spa day. And give those freely. My dogs have an abundance of toys and chewy things and get to go running and swimming and sleep in the bed. Yep, most folks say they want to come back as one of my furr kids. And often, I think the same thing!
So why is it that showing such kindness to myself always comes with hesitation? I can do it, but find myself teetering on the edge for oh, about a billion years before doing so. What is that?
Of course it comes down to self-worth, but like most of us my age, I’ve done enough introspection and therapy (lord, let me count the ways!) to put all the likes of Dr. Phil’s kids through graduate school. I have the tools and the skills. And we all know those do no good sitting in the drawer, so they are used. A lot.
And of course, all of that works. And I find myself being kind again, even to myself. A shocking result.
The thing is, I don’t have to even think about showing kindness to others. It’s inherent. But I always and still have to sit my little self down in order to give some to me.
It’s all those old tapes, which we all have in some form. And one thing I finally realized (yep, slow learner here!) is that those “issues” one has, you know the kind—learned early and young, deep-seated, the kind that infiltrate and haunt your very core—stay with you. Even after all the work done to slay them.
Because that’s the thing—all that toil actually did do an enormous amount of good. We learn to mitigate the damage. To mediate it. To understand it. We learn whatever we need to pull that wooly monster out of the closet and de-fang it, diluting the venom to a fraction of its former self.
In short, we learn to live with it. To go on despite what was done to us and how we reacted to it (which we absolutely can control). To live with our foibles.
But the trip wires still exist. I think they always will. It’s like how you never really resolve a death, but the sharp knives that cut your heart to pieces do dull with time.
Our “issues” are like that. Always there. Tamed, and hopefully turned into at least some good as well. Mine get woven into stories J And that part always makes me smile. That’s one of the ways I show kindness to myself.
It does always circle back to self-love. I love Mother Theresa’s thoughts on love, and every time I hear this, the knowing pops up that the one closest to “home” is ourselves:
“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.”
Bringing that love home, that kindness home, takes awareness and focus. How do you do it?