Thanks to over 20 years of consuming countless devastating memoirs, brutal biopics, and dark recesses of the internet – at the age of 41, I now realize that I am not the Anne Frank of my generation.
Yes, I experienced some emotional neglect, a few unhealthy boundaries, and some sexual abuse. I don’t want to minimize my experience, but I also know that I am not unique. “Precious”, “Shine”….none of these movies were made about my life.
What I find perplexing about my life and what I want to focus on now is this –
When, today, I experience any real or imagined rejection – whether it be a professional slight by a colleague, a fall out with a friend, a romantic break up – in all these situations, my instinct, my consistent reaction has been to abandon myself at the side of the road.
I punish myself for the unhealthy things I have done and ridicule myself for the healthy things I don’t do…all while I lie bleeding on the side of the road.
So what is stunning in the end, isn’t the given circumstance. At this particular time, what’s stunning isn’t that he broke up with me. What’s stunning, is that after he broke up with me – my reaction was to kick myself out of a moving vehicle and leave myself there.
So today it occurred to me that I could try something I have never really tried. I’m calling it radical Jen kindness.
Radical Jen kindness does not hinge on whether or not I deserve, whether or not I stuck to the stark rules I made for myself – resisting this or doing that.
Radical kindness is just doing kind things for myself. Not doing them doesn’t count against me. There is no way to fail. The game is to do as many kind things for myself as I can. Whether or not I also do some unkind things to myself that day doesn’t matter. In fact, let’s assume that I will. I’m not holding that against myself. I’m also not holding it against myself if I don’t do something kind. It is a game that I can only win at. It is impossible to lose. It is only additive. Not punitive.
I’m not going to turn into a magical unicorn who beams loveshine onto myself. Subtracting, censoring, chiding, promising…none of these things work. I can just be who I am right now. And ADD some loveshine. Pow.
And then I’ll write about them. And see what’s what. 100 days of radical Jen kindness.