photo by Christa
Being Kind to You...
"Be good. "
How many times did we hear those terms, as children? And often from the mouths of those who did not exactly embody these traits themselves? No wonder we didn't really know what they meant!
Good. Sweet. Kind. The words remind me of the nursery rhyme - the one that goes "Sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what little girls are made of." Boys, we were told, are made of "frogs and snails and puppy dog tails." Which for me, given that I was a tree hugging, shell collecting, salamander and snake keeping kid, was just plain confusing. I just wasn't all that I thought I was supposed to be.
Somewhere early on, I got the idea that being kind (and good and sweet) was an unattainable goal - much like rainbows and unicorns. Beautiful, certainly - just not real and very much beyond my reach. So I believed, along with many, many others - you, too, perhaps, that I was not sweet. That I was absent the day the God guy with the long white beard handed out the sugar and spice. I wasn't enough, and therefore, was doomed to spend the rest of my days in the pursuit of perfection. That, and the eating of a whole lot of sugar. Quite the the combo - taking in the advertising images of women with Barbie doll proportions, whilst consuming daily Yodels and Twinkies. The fate of the American girl in the 1970s.
Until angels in the form of strong and wise women showed up here and there, holding up a magic mirror and reflecting back an image of me that was way beyond what I could see myself. Women who led extraordinary lives themselves, who laughed at my mistakes and encouraged me to learn from them, who loved me in all my many iterations. Women who showed me what it meant to be good and sweet and kind, yes, in time. What they taught me first, though, was to love myself, and that took a lot of doing. And undoing, before the doing could even begin. There was nothing in my everyday world back then that even allowed this as a possibility. No, it took absolute angels in human form, appearing just when I thought I was lost and gone forever, to guide me to the place I stand today. It was as if they carried me from one bad situation to the next, highlighting the lessons to be learned, showing me how to care for myself even when others did not.
Maybe you've followed a similar path. Maybe not.
I don't really care. We each have our own maps for finding our way in the world.
I fervently hope, though, that one way or another, you have arrived in the same place, and that you understand fully the miracle that you are.
I hope that you know that you are good and sweet and kind. I hope you know that in order to be those things in the world and for others, you first need to be those things to yourself. And that being kind is a daily task, not a one shot deal. It's a lifelong gig.
I hope you know that you have your own unique way of being kind. And that sometimes being kind doesn't look like the media images, like the nursery rhymes, like the first grade reader. That you can make it your own, in any way you wish. That being kind can look like a million different things...
Sometimes being kind looks a lot like this sea turtle. Sometimes being kind looks like allowing for deep deep rest. For you or for others.
Sometimes being kind looks like taking your time, without apology. Like not being in a rush. Like allowing people to move at their own pace.
Sometimes being kind means finding the element that you move best in. Perhaps you swim quickly in water, and shuffle oh so slowly in the sand, just like this guy. Or maybe you function best in a natural environment and struggle mightily in the big city. It only matters that you realize what works best for you and allow for that, every single day.
Sometimes being kind doesn't look so much like being a good girl or a good boy. Sometimes being kind means speaking your mind, rather than holding it in. Sometimes, the kindest thing you can do is to speak your truth, and allow others to speak their own, too, allowing for discord and the lovely feeling of resolution that can follow.
Sometimes being kind means deep listening, taking in the other person's point of view, and agreeing to disagree. And that can require having a hard shell, drawing In your soft parts, and taking refuge in your own company. For as long as you need to stay in that peaceful place.
This is where kindness begins, and where it takes root. In being kind to you. From there, it knows no bounds and can grow freely and go far. Only you hold the power and the wisdom to bring this gift to the world.
|Christa Gallopoulos is an intuitive, an artist/photographer/writer, and a certified Martha Beck life coach. She is the founder of WomenHeal: an Online Alliance (WHOA), which will be unveiled this fall at WomenHeal.org. There is nothing that brings her more joy than watching people discover all that they really are, and always have been. |