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On Being Loving and Kind

A few years ago, I came across a slew of articles against teaching kids the importance of self-confidence and self-worth. These articles were on reputable websites such as Huffington Post around 2011.

At the time, I felt something acute pierce my chest, a sort of pallid, sudden sadness for these authors who blamed Disney and participation trophies for their own failures. It was pathetic. Couldn’t they see that pointing fingers at children’s movies was embarrassing and only they were in control of how they reacted to their lives, not a woe-earned participation trophy in fourth grade?

As I grew older, I saw more pointed blame at elementary school gifted and talented programs. Why? Because the child was told they were special, and they didn’t have to earn it.

Let me tell you a few things I have always believed that nobody ever taught me:

  • All individuals are unique, there are no unique individuals or nonconformists because we are all born under different circumstances and think different thoughts. We are all unique nonconformists.
  • Everyone is inherently divine and has a light inside them, which makes them worthy of respect. It doesn’t matter if you’re the lawyer or the janitor in the office. Most of us have flipped a burger at least once and we all fall on hard times.
  • This means you are special, you are worthy, and you don’t have to earn it.

Thing is, I believed this for other people. I didn’t believe it for myself.

This meant these thoughts were inauthentic, because if you don’t hold these three key truths for yourself, you will never go all the way genuinely in your mind and actions for anyone else.

What you’ll end up being is a ditherer – a washout – who is a mouse of a person. People will push you around and you’ll think it’s okay because of the three principles. They are inherently special, so you have to do what they say. But because you don’t hold yourself to be inherently special, your self-esteem suffers, and you begin to think nasty thoughts about these other people. The people who “push you around” may not even be pushing you around, they might be decent, ordinary humans trying to get on with their lives. But your warped point of view has them out to be devils. Or the pushers really could be pushy – your lack of self-esteem has driven you to choose bad friends.

What’s the point here? If you see your loved ones as hecklers, you aren’t going to love them well. You will make yourself out to be a victim. Yes, you might have good reasons – a troubled past, or a Disney movie (Bambi is very traumatic) but at the end of the day, being the loving, kind self you think you are starts with being loving and kind to yourself. Maybe start with Wreck-It-Ralph and work your way up.

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