In The End Only Kindness Matters

By: Faith Pearce

(4 min read)

Today I am reflecting. Most will have seen the recent news about Hurricane Ian. Most years, I watch these weather events with fascination. In the UK, we get strong winds, mini tornadoes, and flooding, but nothing on the scale of what America sees yearly. However, this year was very different for me. Rather than watching with fascination, I watched with concern and horror as the storm grew rapidly in size and strength and then changed direction. As the warnings of storm surges were issued, areas were issued with evacuation orders. Unfortunately, this year friends of mine were caught directly in the flight path of the storm, which just fell shy of being a category-five hurricane. Winds ravaged the land at 156 m.p.h., knocking out electricity, water, and the internet. Rather than listening to stories of those who couldn’t contact loved ones, I sat praying to hear any news that my friends were OK. It was one of the toughest 48 hours, feeling so helpless.

When things happen out of my control, I default to what I can control. For me, this was eating. I know I can control what goes into my mouth. But as with most of us, when we are emotionally challenged, whatever an old habit or addiction is, there is a level of comfort allowing us to fall back into the familiar. Eating gave me a sense of stability.

Have you ever noticed how you start doing something familiar, like over-cleaning, eating, or talking when stressed? It’s a horrible feeling to feel out of control. This natural disaster gave me the space I needed to reflect on what was important to me. And that is the people in my life. I am so grateful for each experience that has connected me to different people, every energy exchange, and connection made. After all, that is all that matters. It made me realize how often I am not connected to the world because I get caught up in my own story and life. Previously when I had heard the news of storms, it had just been something happening to others. I guess we all do that; we get stuck in the story of our life.

During this reflection, I took a trip down memory lane as I had a flashback to being an angry teenager, angry at the world and my parents. Why did we not have much money? Why did my mum have to be disabled? Why was this my life? I was stuck in my own story. But as I got older, I stepped back and realized I felt out of control. I recognize my parents also had their own story; how they grew up and what they were exposed to. They did their best with what they had been given at the time. People can’t always give us what we want when we want it. Ultimately, as adults, it is our responsibility to meet our own needs. Should I remain angry at the world, feel helpless and beat myself up, or look at it positively?

I realized that I want more for myself, not because of my daughter, not because of my family, and not because of my friends. But because I deserve happiness. So instead of being angry with myself, I deserve to treat myself with kindness. First and foremost, every time.

During the lockdown, I used to listen to daily meditation, which ended with “Be kind to yourself and others.” That clicked with me over the past couple of days. We must first look after ourselves just as we would in a hurricane or any other event where we feel out of control.

One of my favorite artists, Jewel, wrote a song, “Hands,” that has been stuck in my head on repeat. She says my hands are small, I know, but they’re not yours. They are my own. It was a great reminder that no matter how small we may feel, we hold the power to make changes.

So today, I will focus on being kinder to myself and try to recognize the negative programs when they pop up. I will treat my body to food that makes me feel good, take a walk or listen to nature. Have a nice warm bath and an early night.

If we can step back, be kind to others, and try to remember they, too, have their own storms. People do not always show up how or when you want them to, but they do their best with what they have. Holding onto being helpless or angry just kept me frozen for so long, and the only person it hurt was me.

As Jewel says, “In the end, only kindness matters.”

Faith Pearce 
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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