Over the past few weeks, I've had sort of an astonishing number of good friends share with me the details of some very, very tough situations that they're currently trying to handle -- heavy things, things involving heavy "D" words, like death, depression, disease, and divorce. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I told Marcus that I feel like we needed to circle the wagons, and give each other and Alex extra care and attention, because it feels like something ominous is in the air, so many have been the people who have contacted me with troubling news.
As I've spoken to my friends, almost to a person, each has said to me something along the lines of believing that their behaviour in response to these stresses was weak or pathetic. I find this so shocking. As I said, these are not little things we're talking about here -- it's not like they're upset because a restaurant lost their reservation, or their flight was delayed; this is serious stuff. In fact, I suspect that had the tables been turned, and had I been the one confiding in my friends about similar circumstances, they would have totally understood the gravity of what I was feeling, and completely empathized with my unhappiness.
Why are we always so hard on ourselves, particularly during times of trouble, particularly when our hearts and souls and psyches are in need of a bit of tenderness? When I think of myself at my daughter's age, I remember that going to my parents or friends for comfort was very easy to do -- at what age did I start to believe that doing so was weak, or inappropriate? I don't feel like I'm a fundamentally different person than I was at age 5 -- why would the person I was at that age all of a sudden be less deserving of feeling vulnerable or needing comfort when dealing with tough times, just by virtue of getting older?
Why would anybody be less deserving?
I say all of this just to emphasize that if you're currently going through a rough patch, I hope that you're seeking solace in family and friends who love you; however, I also hope you're cutting yourself some slack, as well. Ultimately, no one really understands how you're feeling better than you do; and I suspect that if you encountered a friend who felt like you feel, you'd be very careful to be as good to him as possible. Therefore, be good to you. Be gentle with you. If it helps, think of your 5-year-old self, and think about how you would treat him or her. And then do so, accordingly.
And if life is currently grand for you, then by all means, celebrate. I bet your 5-Year-Old-You would love an ice cream cone right about now.
* * * * * * *
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Please leave your stories or your links to words or images of love in the comments section below.
And may you be gentle with yourself today.