Be kind

Big decision today. I try and be as kind as I can in life, both to friends and strangers. It’s a habit that makes the world turn more smoothly. I can’t do much about the international situation, but I can do something about how I react to everyone I meet.

But I’ve realised I need to be kinder to myself. Seems obvious doesn’t it, but it really isn’t. Talking to my good friend at lunch today, we realised we were both brought up in a tradition of ‘just get on with it.’ Our lives are immeasurably easier than our ancestors, who had very few choices and learned early on that life was hard and dealt you pretty rough hands. So you just got on with it.

We lead different lives but have inherited the just get on with it philosophy, which has stood us in good stead in many ways. But when the car crashes of life hit you, as they inevitably will, that outlook doesn’t leave much emotional wriggle room.

I’m stuck between two contradictory positions : the grief and loss of my old life, before I became seriously ill and the desire to get as much joy out of what time is left to me. I’ve been hurtling between them like a badly directed pinball. Now I realise that both things are true, but is it possible to live a ‘both …and life’ without succumbing to the ‘just get on with it’ mentality?

Seems to me that kindness may be the key. I imagined today what I would say to someone who told me the story of my past twelve months or so. They would be drowning in sympathetic ‘poor yous’ . I would never accuse them of wallowing in self-pity, a feeling I often get myself. The words ‘just get on with it’ would never pass my lips.

So I’m going to practise what I preach and be as kind to myself as I can.


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