Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The Kindness Project - JUNE
Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts. We post the second Wednesday of every month.
Disclaimer: this is long and not very uplifting, so feel free to not read this post. Seriously. You've been warned.
So you know that part in our mission statement about "reach out even we aren't feeling entirely whole...?" That's me right now. More days than not recently, I haven't been feeling whole. In fact, I have been feeling like I am full of holes, with my good intentions and hopes and dreams leaking (sometimes gushing) out of me. I've been debating all week whether or not to tell everyone in this amazing group that I couldn't post this month. Because the honest truth is that I don't feel like I deserve to. I have tried every day to focus on this project, particularly when I've heard someone is in need or feeling down. I've tried to reach out and help others, even when it wasn't convenient for me. But I still feel like I've failed in many ways to truly embody the goal of this group. There are two big reasons why, but part of my struggle with this post is deciding how personal to get. I don't know for sure who does or doesn't read my blog in my circle of "real life" friends, family, and acquaintances, and I don't want to put in enough detail to cause anyone embarrassment or point any fingers. So let's try and keep it really vague, shall we?
How do you show kindness to people who often are unkind--even purposefully cruel--but are a permanent part of your life? This is a question that I have been struggling with all month. And unfortunately, I have more often than not tried to just avoid those people, rather than make an effort to be kind to them. Part of my excuse was that being kind is a double-edge sword in this case, because in the past, the majority of my efforts of kindness have been rewarded with more meanness.
The second part of my failure has been more in my internal thought processes than any outward manifestation. I am having a very hard time being kind to myself right now, and I think to be able to show true kindness to others, you have to first be loving and happy with yourself. And right now? I'm struggling with that, on so many levels. My internal dialogue is full of negativity at myself, if I'm being totally honest. I'm always surprised when people tell me "you seem so confident!" "I was so glad to hear that you doubt yourself, because you seem like you're so knowledgeable/sure of yourself/etc." I have done acting in the past, I even got to say, "They go to Hell, sir!" (in a British accent) in Jane Eyre, the Musical at a local professional theater (I know, right? I'm, like, practically famous), but I must be an even better actress than I thought! Because I am a mess of insecurities.
While everyone around me continues to have good news and more good news and happy, wonderful news (and I am genuinely so so very happy for them, and they know that!!); I, on the other hand, do not. In fact, I often feel as thought I'm falling further and further behind while everyone else is scaling (sometimes flying) over the mountains I'm trying to climb. And not just publishing mountains (although that is one big sucker and sometimes I feel like I'm barely clinging on), but in other ways, too. As a mom, as an athlete, and more.
Some of these doubts are self-inflicted and others stem from the doubts put there by others--including the people I hinted at before. Some come from having to adjust my expectations of life, based on things out of my control. Like the fact that I absolutely adore babies, and I've always wanted a BIG family. I'm talking 5, 6, maybe even 7 kids. But life has a different plan for me, and I am having to adjust to the fact that my sweet, beautiful Baby Girl is going to be my last. She's going to be 1 in just a couple of weeks, and the realization that she's getting so big, so fast, and that I will never again have a sweet baby of my own to cuddle takes my breath away, and leaves me feeling hollow. And then I think of others who can only have one, or maybe can't have any children at all, and I feel even worse. Because I am SO grateful for the three children I have, and I shouldn't feel sad that we can't have more. I shouldn't dare complain. I hated people like me when I was going through infertility. "Oh boo, poor her with her three, beautiful children." We went through infertility and loss, I know the pain and agony of that trial--and I know how lucky we are to have the three children that we do. There were times when it looked like SonA would be our only child. And yet, I still struggle. I'm being decidely unkind to myself about my inability to follow through on this goal and dream. And how is that helping me or anyone else at all? It's not.
I guess I always try to be so positive and upbeat on my blog, but I decided maybe I should just be honest. And I'm not always like this. But this has been a hard month, and so there you have it.
Man, this post is hard. I keep writing stuff and then deleting it. And I'm pretty sure these are intended to be inspiring and I'm thinking this post is anything but that. I probably should have just decided to not post this month and try harder in June so I had something to write for July. Oh well, too late for that!
So, yeah, massive #sarafail in the Kindness department this month.
Let's just say this: making a conscious effort to be extraordinarily kind is hard sometimes. And it involves taking risk. And it opens you up to being hurt sometimes, too. But I'm still going to keep trying.
Check out these (probably much more inspiring) posts from the other members of this group: