Images and text by Sarita Rajiv
I had a moment of delayed epiphany recently and it had to do with being kind. I hear you think, "Being kind... not particularly life changing or earth shattering, is it?" But then some of the biggest life changing moments and events can be rooted in simple ideas. For me, it was one of those moments of profound importance that somehow go right past you only to glide back into your life afterwards, sometimes days, sometimes months later.
Last weekend, I was listening to what I consider one of the most profound talks at The Hive blogging conference this year -- ‘Finding Your Voice’ by Katie Treggiden of Confessions of a Design Geek. I say profound because it affected me at an emotional level and I find myself thinking about the things Katie said and discussed, days later. Katie started her session with a TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown. One of the things Brene said in her talk was, “The people who have a strong sense of worthiness embrace vulnerability. They have the courage to tell the stories of who they are from the heart, they have the courage to be imperfect and they have the compassion to be kind to themselves.”
The compassion to be kind to themselves…what a beautiful thought! At the time of the talk, I focussed entirely on how being vulnerable was key to have an authentic blogging voice and this little gem passed right by me. As I was going through my notes from the conference days later, this line jumped out at me, unsettling me. Because while I consider empathy to be one of my key traits and though I’m kind and compassionate to others, I’m not that generous with myself. I set goals, I work hard and when I falter, I blame myself…often. Sure I enjoy the fleeting moments of success and pat myself on the back for any achievements, but I forget about them soon afterwards.
The past few months have been particularly so. I’ve been gung-ho about the new goals I’ve set this year while silently berating myself over a couple from the past year that were what I would call ‘big fails’. And that affects how I feel about myself, that affects my sense of worthiness. Somewhere along the way I lost the compassion to be kind to myself. Even as I write this post, the 'practical me' is saying, “Really! Are you going soft on yourself now? Aren’t you just giving yourself an easy pass over not achieving what you set out to?” But I shush that insistent, nagging voice inside. As should many of us - the voice that says we are not good enough mothers, not good enough husbands, not good enough daughters or not good enough at our work. Instead reason with this voice of yours, counter its criticism with causes for praise and cajole its list of fails with your list of successes.
It is time to reclaim this gift of being kind to ourselves. Because we can’t just be our biggest critics, we also have to be our biggest champions. Because our list of fails can’t take a pew all by itself, it has to sit beside our successes. Because we need to put ourselves in our own shoes from time to time. And because we deserve it.
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