Through my life’s experience I have drawn some conclusions. Much of our society accepts and even encourages a victim mindset. Blame and shame are used as a shield to avoid accountability. Responsibility is cast along side of life, like an unwanted piece of clothing. In the process, learned helplessness becomes a way of life. Learned helplessness condones the notion that individuals are merely victims of their circumstances. For them living is reduced to surviving crisis’s, over which they believe they are helpless. Consequently, they find themselves depleted of both time and energy. Creative expression remains dormant, frozen within their being. The pursuit of empowerment becomes just another good ideas or concept. In my own experience, I found a balm. This balm gave me the permission to thaw emotionally, to begin creating and to be accountable to other people, but more importantly to myself. In this process, I learned the difference in being responsible to others, but not for them or their choices. I will share this secret with you.
In the nuclear families, where secrets are kept and maintained three rules are often used to mask the truth: Don’t Talk, Don’t Trust and Don’t Feel. In order to not “rock the boat”, each member of the family invariably begins to experience an internal conflict. Isolation and feelings of alienation then become a way to contain that conflict. In my experience, this conflict resulted in my becoming overly critical of myself. It also became apparent that through being critical of others, they wanted little to do with me. And so, the conflict continued to be contained by my being critical of other people and myself.
The lesson I learned through my experience taught me that relating to people in this manner rarely produced good outcomes. I had to find a better way. It was at this time that I began to thaw emotionally. With time and exposure to kindness, I was able to identify with other people. Kindness freed me from the expectation of secrecy. Kindness gave me the permission to break those three rules —Don’t talk, Don’t trust, and Don’t feel – and to begin my healing process, by learning to share my story with others, learning to trust, trustworthy people, and to begin to feel my feelings. Consequently, I began to heal emotionally. As I began to heal emotionally, I had another awareness. My being critical of other people often occurred because I was being critical of myself. Through this awareness, I was able to be less critical of myself. As I learned to be kind toward myself, I was able to kind toward my peers. Through this awareness, it became apparent that I, too, could become a conduit of kindness.
As I began showing random acts of kindness toward individuals I met on my path, they too experienced a new freedom. The power of kindness chipped away at the bars that had held them captive. Kindness brought hope to those hiding in the shadows of isolation. Something remarkable began to occur as I saw them walking toward the light. The shame and guilt that once kept them isolated and alienated from themselves and their peers was losing power over their lives. Remarkably, feelings of isolation and alienation were being replaced with the principle empowerment and creative expression.
Identification promotes inclusion and in so doing: hope.
Kindness, in my opinion remains a balm to the soul. It provides conditions that promote healing so that a sense of separation can be repaired. Kindness breaks down the bars of isolation and relaxes the need to have defense mechanisms. It slowly opens the door of identification, so that light can shine into a previously darkened place. Identification is one of the wonderful benefits of kindness.
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