Saturday, May 20, 2017

True kindness

It seems to me that true kindness often says and does nothing, because it is not compulsive.  The drive to "help" people often hurts them, and to the extent this drive is unconscious this fact will be invisible to them.  They hurt and hurt, and manage to maintain a self image of being compassionate, thoughtful, and kind.

What I feel is that the deepest need most have is the need for connection, and even if you say or do nothing but see people as they are, and forgive them, this is always helpful.  We all need to "feel felt".

I have lived in a harsh world all my life.  To use an analogy Bessel van der Kolk offered, alarm bells are going off in me 24/7, and have for my entire conscious life, even if I was able to suppress my awareness of them for a very long time. "Life" has always felt dangerous to me, and offered no right answers.  My main solace has been oblivion, both that offered by alcohol, and that offered by abstraction and emotional distancing.

I cannot say I have been a kind person.  I have, on the contrary, often been an asshole.  I have been rude, presumptuous, entitled, impatient, condescending, and sometimes outright mean.  I speak this merely as fact.  I can't see how I could have been any different and survived.  And I am not done being an asshole.  I have many triggers.

But I can see how on some level I will be able to forgive, through a deep, heart level understanding, people who are mean. I'm not there yet.  It will take much more work.  But I can see a path, or at least the beginnings of a path, and it leads through a complete understanding of myself, who I am, and feeling my continuity with not just the rest of humanity, but of life itself.

Feeling the life all around you: this is how you begin to live.

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