Last week in the Purejoy blog we talked about self-aggression and how it forms early in our human experience. This week we share the remedy for this: Kindness.
Take a minute and consider- what does it mean to you, to be kind?
Good- you’ve got that!
In Purejoy, we offer kindness as the response you slip into the places when you discover self-aggression has been working unconsciously in the background to keep you safe in a way- where there is actually no danger as an adult.
This kindness is quite different than just being ‘nice’ as most of your cultural and familial conditioning probably has you believing. It’s opening your experience up to what is ACTUALLY happening right in front of you, the moment that you are in and stepping into that reality.
I’ll break it down…
Most likely you were taught to be kind, which without much explanation meant to be nice, which sneakily became an expectation of your caregivers to take care of others. This likely meant that you abandoned certain parts of yourself to do that.
Think about how kids are asked to share- be nice, the adults say! They have to override their own desires to hang on to their belongings.
Or I can remember times, before my views shifted, where I asked my kids to say hello to someone they were feeling shy around- as they hid behind my leg, I asked them to be nice and polite…to do that, they had to override their own sense of not wanting to engage.
One time, in a home I was visiting , I saw a sign that exhibited a list of household rules, the first one, in big bold letters that made it stand out above the others was- BE KIND.
What followed was a list of niceties in small font to support this one main requirement. Quaint, I thought, and then quickly, smirked-I imagined that same sign hung in my house and quickly felt the ping of self-aggression that said- my family would fail at those rules. I would fail at those rules. I felt my whole being tense up, ready to try harder to be peaceful, to act nice, to have courage, and apologize- to BE KIND.
My practice, by then, was such that I knew to slow down when my ol’ friend Self-Aggression came around. I took a deep breath, and instead I went back to noticing the sign and inserted some kindness in the place I just self-aggressed. I went through the same scenario of imagining the sign hung in my house- from my new Purejoy view of the Kindness that opens to what is present in the moment.
I looked at the list of rules again- Be kind, it said. I thought- yep, check, sometimes we act kind, and in a move of kindness I also thought- and the truth is sometimes we act mean, sometimes we aggress, sometimes we are scared and hurt.
This greater kindness that I was offering about the reality of my situation, in place of my self-aggression, actually felt relaxing. I noticed a softness in my being almost immediately. I got excited, even. I felt more alive.
I was so curious then- how it felt so good to admit that we acted nice and acted mean, rather than using my precious life energy to try to ignore, or cancel or change the moment I was in with my kids. In fact, that was nearly impossible once I considered it. Maybe you feel the absurdity of this too?
Once I named what was so true for me, another beautiful thing happened. I actually opened my heart to my kiddos, in this softer place, and asked them more about what was coming up for them. The truth was welcome. We were deeply connected.
When they were much younger it looked like opening up to ALL of their expressions and behaviors with curiosity rather than judgements about acting mean, or bad, or misbehaving. I wasn’t taking their experience personally, then. I found out what was happening around us, or inside of me- that played a part in the way they were feeling, and therefore behaving.
I saw our ongoing experience very differently- more truthfully, which was in reality very kind, to me and my kids.
Try it- close your eyes (once you’ve read the next few lines) and imagine telling yourself the truth on the inside- heaping kindness on the reality of one aspect of your parenting experience. Include the part that feels hard to admit, or that you often want to leave out or disclaim.
What do you notice?
This deep kindness (not just being pleasant or BE KIND) is being truthful about reality. People are going to feel what they feel, and think what they think. I know that is true because something I say or do will impact one of my kiddos one way- say, they love what I did. Another will have the opposite response- because they are having their experience from the stimulus of the environment.
I promise- there is a lot of energy tied up in trying to stop what is actually happening! This week go curiously as to what it might be like to offer yourself some loving kindness- while being truthful about what is happening.