Friday, July 30, 2010
Question: Why is it so hard to be kind to yourself?
I've wondered about this for many years. I've made many attempts at self-kindness that didn't last. Last week, I found out I'm not alone in my quest, on Mahala Mazerov's blog, Luminous Heart, I joined the Summer of Lovingkindness Invitational.
Calling all practical idealists, hidden mystics, and people of good heart!
Please join me for 2 months of creative focus on love and lovingkindness.
Starting today, (July 1st) through August 31st, I invite you to share your words, art, wisdom, and stories — your questions, contemplations and experiences — in the Summer of Lovingkindness Invitational, #SOLI for short.
There are many wise and wonderful people joining, sharing and commenting. The other day, in a comment on her site, I found myself writing about an experience I had as a new mom.
Here's what I wrote:
As a mother of two, now grown, children, I can see that loving kindness truly bloomed in me as I nurtured my children. And it reminds me of an exchange between my own mother and I.
I had been home a few days after giving birth to my first child, a daughter, and I was giving her one of her first baths in a small baby sink in the bathroom. I’d carefully assembled all the needs, soap, shampoo, soft wash cloth and towel then, just as carefully and somewhat nervously, I undressed this little darling. While my mother looked on, I lowered her slowly into the bath and went about gently washing her smooth skin while taking in her tiny beauty from her dark hair and eyes, little lips and fingernails. As I was absorbed in the process of bathing my daugther, I didn’t notice that I did anything special, but as I finished up my mother said, “You did that all so gently. I never did that, I was in such a hurry and just scrubbed you.” When I looked over at her, curious, wondering if I was getting criticized, I could see amazement on her face. It was as if for the first time, she realized that she could have done it differently.
The act of bathing, feeding and holding my children was always done with loving kindness, I realize now. It just came naturally. Why, then, is it so hard to give that same care to myself?
Mahala used my experience and question as part of her next blog post, Tender Loving Care and many people had their own answers to my question.
The answers were illuminating, helpful, supportive and interesting. Some felt self kindness would make them selfish or self serving or a self kindness addict. Some felt loving kindness is an essential spiritual discipline. Some felt that being kind to themselves would transform their life.
What do you think? Are you as kind to yourself as you are to others? Do you need more Lovingkindness? How would you go about getting it for yourself? My sweet kitty, Terra sleeping on my feet feels like Lovingkindness to me. What ways do you find Lovingkindness for yourself?