a little kindness

July 28, 2011 § 7 Comments

I suffer* through some stupid stuff sometimes, due to pure stubborn bull-headedness.

Do you know what I mean? The kind of thing that in the scheme of things is so NOT a big deal, but in the minutia of the day to day, or in combination becomes enough to effect your outlook, your emotions, and your ability to effectively manage what’s on deck? Getting enough sleep for instance (actually, this is a big thing. But I’m not talking about serious insomnia. I’m talking about a random night of sleeplessness) Ok. Enough qualifications and explanations.

See, I have this thing about whining. To a fault.

I’m working on it. Not on trying to whine *MORE*, but on the background, the attitudes and habits that this intolerance implies. Like being able to accept help (or god forbid, ask for it). Or being able to make a subtle shift that allows more joy into my day – and maybe, to the people who cross my path.

I have been working on self-kindness for years now. I have made some huge strides I am happy [happier!] to say. You would think I’d have it down by now. Sometimes, I think I do. But in the last 24 hours, I’ve had to admit (again) that I have more to learn. The bits of unkindness that remain reflect a disregard that startles me a little. Simple stuff. Big impact.

A tiny bit of context: When I was a kid, I had serious insomnia. I have no idea how I functioned through high school. I didn’t function well. But, (so says the story), a big change in my senior year brought consistent, deep, restful sleep. Since that time, I have never had more than brief issues; I sleep like a stone. If you think I’m lucid and speak with me, I may not recall it in the morning. I love my sleep and I am so grateful for it, because I remember what it was like not to.

Last night, I woke around midnight. I lay awake for awhile. I tossed and turned and tried not to disturb the soundly sleeping cat or T beside me. I had a headache. I was hungry. My knee felt a little tweaky. (Minor things, not like when I was a kid. I feel like a whiner, writing these things. I feel like a whiner telling you about when I was a kid). I began to get frustrated, but it didn’t even occur to me – no, that’s not true. I flat-out refused to get up and take care of the tiny things in the way of getting a few more hours of solid sleep. Finally, I realized that I was being ridiculous, and gently picked up my sweet kitty and placed her to the side. I climbed out of bed and had tylenol, a snack, and some tea. Tucked a pillow under the covers for my knee, smiled to myself and put some lavender on my pillow for good measure. And fell into such a deep sweet sleep.

Was that so hard?? A few simple actions, a night of good rest, and a more pleasant me.

Then today, a lovely, lovely day. I headed out to a doctor’s appt. Great mood, well rested, beautiful sun, tunes on the stereo, singing along. I got close to the clinic and felt some slight unease. About silly stuff. Parking. Doctor. Ugh. No big story here, it’s a ridiculously little thing. No big issue, no history. And so I was prepared to just do it as I have many times before. It’s not a big deal (NO WHINING! ESPECIALLY ABOUT RIDICULOUS STUFF!) It wouldn’t have negatively impacted my day or my mood.

But then, instead of fighting for a space in the dark, damp garage, I made a left turn and parked at the gardens backing up to the clinic. I had a lovely walk on through the grounds, entering the clinic in an even better mood. I practically sang hello to the kind woman who checked me in. I visit these gardens periodically. They are beautiful and one of my favorite close by spaces. Why then, has it never occurred to me to do this before?

I’m still pondering, and shaking my head a bit. Because my sensible, no-whining self says, that I get to choose how I respond to lack of sleep or a ridiculously little thing like parking. She’s right – I do. But my softer self is looking for a little more lee-way, a little more love. She says that continuing to do things the hard way and choosing to be in a good mood anyway doesn’t make me a better person. So how about a little more kindness? How about a little more joy?

I think she’s on to something.


Deep thanks to Kylie for this post. When I read it I thought I had learned this already, but I would be wrong – I would be shy of sleep and deprived of a lovely walk in the gardens.

*Suffer is a very relative term, please understand. 

§ 7 Responses to a little kindness

  • Angelo Jones says:

    can totally identify with your feelings within this sweet posting.
    loving your honest sharing….

  • Kylie says:

    I love this. I kind of tend to think (and it sounds like you do, too) that suffering in silence somehow makes me a better person. But giving myself more kindness where I can actually makes the world a better place — for me AND for other people.

    • Mel says:

      Exactly. It doesn’t make me better (or stronger). I think I am finally absorbing this lesson into my being. The real strength is in the sensitivity, the flexibility, the kindness – and letting that overflow outward.

  • peteralf says:

    Totally with you here, all the mounting pressures of buying a house, family head trips, and just feeling overwhelmed. I will attempt a no whinning a more “dinning” policy. Enjoy Bon Iver tonight!!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Peter! It’s great to see you here. It’s so normal to feel overwhelmed in light of all these things! What I am working on for myself is a balance of choosing my attitude and allowing myself a little kindness. Best of luck with all you’ve got going on!

      (Bon Iver. So good.)

  • Oh, the balance! I hear you — there’s much to be said for a good attitude; but then we also NEED to allow ourselves to let out those pesky feelings!

    I’ve struggled with this issue, too — and even, at times, am not even doing the holding in my whining to be a better person – but actually not noticing that I FEEL the whine — argh! So I’m trying to pay attention to all the inner parts of myself, including the whiney ones – and love and listen to them ALL.

    It’s such a tricky thing – knowing when to hold those feelings and when to share, don’t you think??

    Thanks for this post – so normalizing to read that others struggle with this stuff!

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