I love that this little message of kindness is in this picture is next to some sort of what, is that a spill? A stain? Not sure, but it’s clearly a bit of a mess, yes?
That’s what we need–a bit of kindness next to every mess we see or find or make.
Some people say, kindness is being honest.
Maybe. It depends on what you mean by ‘honest’. It depends on where your ‘honest’ comes from.
Honesty is often disguised as ‘realism’, the sort of thing people say to others (and themselves) ‘for their own good,’ to shock them out of delusion or to protect them from disappointment.
If that’s where the ‘honest’ comes from, I say, that is not kindness. That is fear.
Kindness is the truth inside the moment we think is a mistake.
It’s an opening to allow what’s there, to be.
It’s permission to embrace our human being-ness with all the attendant foibles and horrifying imperfections.
Kindness is tenderness and tenderness is always strong and brave and risky.
It’s hard to be kind—I mean, not when we’re feeling good and safe and capable. Then it’s easy. Kindness is hard precisely when we need it most.
Once I was going through a rough patch, for like, years. I was finally a mom to a beautiful baby boy after more than a decade of trying and every day, I struggled to figure out how to help him feel safe.
There were countless moments when I was out in the world with my ineptitude on display, like I was a walking diorama of the World’s Messiest Mom. Nothing was streamlined in our household, nothing on the neuro-social-developmental pathway was clear or easy or programmed the way it is for typical kids and that often made me feel like a big fat boiling failure.
Most of the time, I made it through moments when peopled stared or whispered or outright gasped. They couldn’t get it and I didn’t have the time or the energy to stop and explain it.
But sometimes I wanted someone to smile and tell me not that was it going to be okay at some LATER point, but that it was actually okay RIGHT THEN, in the middle of that sticky moment of feeling lost, exposed, and alone.
Sometimes I wanted a perfect stranger to reach out and tell me that I was doing a good job, even an amazing job, that my kid was awesome, a fucking rock star.
And then one day I made little cards to give to other moms I saw out in the world slogging through their own messy bits. I had forgotten all about them–until I was cleaning out some computer files this week.
And so, I offer them to you: Here. Why? Because, I see you. You are going through something.
it’s not easy. It can feel lonely. It can feel as if you are continuously spilling out from the neat trajectory you wish this particular part of your path would take.
Take some kindness with you. It will keep you good company, and will surely take you where brute force never can.