Advertisement

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

the hardest kind of kindness

buddhist sayingI write frequently about being kind to our own flawed and fallible selves. Because I see so many people talking to and about themselves in ways they wouldn’t address horrible strangers.

I hear dear friends talk about themselves as failures, citing their inability to walk serenely through their overwhelming lives. Colleagues badmouth their work; acquaintances are dismissive of their considerable accomplishments. Strangers share stories of how they are horrible people (they aren’t).

Advertisement

Self-love, people. A little self-love, please.

Thus the lesson for today, from my dearly beloved Pema Chödrön, she who always makes me feel better — and more like doing better. (It’s hard to feel inspired when you hurt.) She doesn’t ever hurt, unlike too many current religious  elders. Her religion — like the Dalai Lama’s — is kindness. To all of us, including her own wonderful self. And mine.

dalai lama laughing

via Google

Advertisement

I guarantee you that Pema Chödrön also struggles with self-abnegation. Don’t we all? Probably even the Dalai Lama — although I confess I can’t imagine!

Kindness to ourselves is soooo much harder than being kind to people we love. Or being kind to strangers. I can summon great sympathy — even mercy — for people who do cruel things, when I think about their contexts. But all I have to do is drop something and words like ‘idiot!’ come out of my mouth.

I don’t know how to change that for us. I do it, you do it, she and he and they ALL do it. It’s the way of human beings, if they’re not insufferably arrogant. We are hardest on ourselves — we are our own difficult, too-often-unloveable friends. And the people who appear so very confident, who think they never err? I can’t help but remember the saying behind every superior attitude is an inferiority complex.  It’s true far more often than not.

Advertisement

via Google

via Google

What I can assure each of us — you, me, each tentative, shrinking heart — is that we have our own inimitable gifts. Gifts no one else can offer. Unique presents for the world around us. And those gifts deserve appreciation, and love. Our own, first of all.  Because if I can’t love me — forgiving my own faults & flaws — how can I love you? Really love you — in your occasionally horrible, frustrating and challenging, disappointment to me?  To love ourselves, we only have to offer up our gifts, from our quaking, unbelieving hearts. Others will show us how valuable those gifts are. But first  — and hardest of all — we have to believe they exist, and that they deserve appreciation. Let’s start there.

  • Misha Norton

    Thanking you for the LOVE, my friend…

    • Britton Gildersleeve

      Thank you, Misha. :)

Previous Posts

cultural burdens, with homage to Carol Emarthle-Douglas
This may be the most moving piece of art I've seen in many many months. When it came across my FB ...

posted 5:48:11pm Aug. 26, 2015 | read full post »

silver linings
For those d'un certain âge, the Rolling Stones said it best: You can't always get what you want/But if you try sometimes you just might find/You get what ...

posted 6:20:17pm Aug. 24, 2015 | read full post »

the impulse to art
This, my friends, is art. And better than anything else I can think of, it demonstrates our deep-set need to create beauty. The Dalai Lama ...

posted 9:41:23pm Aug. 20, 2015 | read full post »

cleaning house, reprised
As we come closer to moving -- even though we no longer have a house under contract, nor do we know when we'll find one! -- I'm getting ever more serious ...

posted 5:10:21pm Aug. 17, 2015 | read full post »

laundry and blackberry pie
This is my reward for a gruelling two weeks spent with the family my mother-in-law into a new, more secure  Alzheimer's facility. It's the break from the ...

posted 4:38:45pm Aug. 15, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.