Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. ~Lao Tzu
I came across this quote today and I copied it down, thinking I’d use it to remind myself to be kinder to others. While I’m generally a pretty nice person, I could certainly use a little reminder every now and then that the world is not really all about me.
So on about my day I went. Work, lunch, work, manicure, cardio–another exciting day in Cammy-land, as you can see.
Oh, but I forgot to mention the ritual! It’s a new thing I’ve started recently, whenever I’m changing clothes, and it goes something like this: I pause to look in the mirror and obsess about my droopy breasts, my flabby belly, and my sagging thighs. I count the wrinkles, the ones that weren’t there this time last year because my cheeks were so fat, and twist my neck from side to side to see the folds of excess skin ripple as I do so. And then I sum it up with one of two words: Yuk! or Gross!
On rare occasions, in the right lighting, I use both.
It was no different tonight, until a tiny inner voice piped up with, “Now exactly how is that ‘kind’?”
I didn’t have an answer, not a good one anyway, because it’s not kind. It’s downright cruel. There’s no way I would ever say that to a friend, so why in hell would I ever say it to myself?
My body is not beautiful just now, at least not in the conventional sense of the word, and I’m not going to try to convince myself otherwise. For the record, I wouldn’t do that to a friend either. But if asked, I’d damn sure be kind with my answer. I’d point out that this interim body is a work in progress, maybe add a reminder that the caterpillar-to-butterfly transition gets kind of icky in the middle part, but it all works out beautifully in the end. If we’re talking close friend, I might even joke about the number of crunches in her future, and the newer, healthier me would offer to do them with her. Maybe I’d find more words of wisdom, but I know none of them would be “gross” or “yuk”.
This is what I thought about when I was on the treadmill tonight, and I vowed to be kinder to myself, to give myself the gifts that build confidence, profoundness, and love. When I finished my cardio (and caught my breath), I dug out this poem I copied down years ago, and it’s now taped to my bathroom mirror. It’s the kindest thing I knew to do for myself.
By Carolyn Rodgers
(as read on Oprah many years ago)
I took a good long look at myself in a full length mirror
Sometimes it’s good to look in a full length mirror
And what I saw was not some soul sister poetess of the moment
But I saw just a woman
Just a woman feeling
Just a woman human
And what I felt was
What I felt was a spiritual revelation
And what I felt was a root revival of some love coming on
Coming on strong
And I knew then, looking in a full length mirror,
That many things were over
And some me of beauty was about to begin