When I’m in a good place I’m fantastic at finding the right words to encourage other women to be kind to themselves.
I like to remind them of two facts depression taught me: 1) The Earth isn’t going to open up and swallow you just because you feel terrible no matter how much you wish it would, and 2) Be gentle with yourself as you heal because life is hard enough and you don’t need to add to your own pain with more judgements.
Giving this sage advice to others, believing it is easy. Taking it for myself is not as easy.
I’m fortunate to have a very strong “Keep Going” chip inside me, so that when I’m lost and flailing in my own mind I continue to push myself forward. Because I know the world isn’t going to stop just for me. The earth won’t swallow me up and erase my problems. I have to work through them myself.
I want people to be kind to themselves, to me, to each other. But I also dish out some very tough love. I’m a pusher. I don’t allow plenty of room for self-pity. While I encourage gentleness in/from other people, I not-so-gently demand action from everyone.
I realize this is an unfair projection, which reveals my own contradiction and conflict. I’m spouting off about being gentle, and yet I won’t allow myself to feel for myself. Where is my compassion and empathy for my own journey? Why do I think I can help others if I can’t give myself room to feel all the things?
Admittedly, I run, sprint, fly, long jump as far and fast away from my own insecurities as possible. I don’t want to stay too long in any space of doubt. I don’t want to wallow. Obviously, to some remarkable extent this works for me. My reluctance to be inside my fears pushes me toward productivity and the illusion of growth, maturity, and success. I just want to feel better. So I tell myself I do.
Still, as love is my ultimate goal – and not romantic love, but pure, selfless, spiritual, enduring love as existence – I have to overcome my forcefulness. I have to find a way to give others the goodness without the hurting them, without pushing them too hard, without pushing them away.
The work is a journey and I’m impatient with my own progress. Until I’m truthfully gentle with myself, and understanding of my own movements and stalls on the path, what can I truly do for others?
Most likely just this; write my way through the absolute fog. Feelings are a fog. They are complicated. I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going, so I must feel/work/write my way through.
And try not to push or hurt anybody on my way.