Personal Journeys with Gramma

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Being Kind to Yourself and Others in 2022

ON NEW YEAR’S EVE, 2021:

You’ve done far better in 2021 than you think. You’re here, reading this, for a start. With the horrific drag on optimism, good health, and community we’ve all experienced, standing on two feet and moving forward is an accomplishment—regardless of how slowly you’re moving. Play some favorite music, dance, or sing and congratulate yourself! We all need encouragement about now. The holidays feel fractured. Reality has soiled our favorite traditions.

Perhaps to alleviate guilt, some choose to discount the struggles of others, hoping (I suppose) to create psychological distance between US and THEM. The age-old rationalization is that it’s okay to mistreat people who aren’t as human as we are. Senator Manchin assuming (incorrectly) that most of the parents receiving a child tax credit would use it to buy drugs is an ugly example. People who don’t have his millions love their children, too. In fact, the sacrifices some less financially fortunate parents are making for their families would inspire the rest of us to tear up if we knew about them all. When cheery Facebook posts tell us to remember everyone is coping with problems we may not see, they’re right.

In a recent NYT article titled “The Bill for My Homelessness was $54000,” journalist Lori Teresa Yearwood detailed her unanticipated descent into being without a home. As if her suffocating stack of misfortunes wasn’t enough, we’re shocked by the subsequent horror she endured—not merely from living on the streets but also from emotional trauma. Even after she had returned to the working world, she suffered from trying to pull herself back up when she had been assessed crushing debt without her knowledge while she was doing her best to survive. Luckily for her, she had professional connections from the days before her descent to help her. What happens to people who have no help and no investigative skills? The gullible are fodder for false gurus/leaders who profit from their misunderstanding. We all have hidden stories. Many endured catastrophic losses from disease and disasters this year.

What do you want in the new year? Look at your list and you’ll have a hint of the degree of difficulty you’ve been through. Are you hoping to gain missing luxuries? …security? …the basics for living? …recovery from the loss of loved ones? This year I don’t want to allow myself to hide behind excuses. What I wish for my world I also wish for myself: to be kind, brave, good-humored, honest, generous, and unapologetically me—the me I was sent here to be. I know the opinions of others are based on their impressions, not my full reality, so I intend to give others the benefit of the doubt that I deserve. And I’ll look for ways to make my vision of a caring, beautiful world inch closer to reality. In case you’ve decided a better world is an unattainable goal and you’re skeptical of the stories of benevolence distributed online, try reading THE DAY THE WORLD CAME TO TOWN: 9/11 IN GANDER, NEWFOUNDLAND by Jim DeFede, a true account of thousands of good-hearted people rising to an incredible human challenge with love and generosity, giving of themselves to absolute strangers. We could all be more like that, because we’re doing better than we think. One of the best cures for emotional malaise is to help someone else.

2 comments on “Being Kind to Yourself and Others in 2022

  1. Frances Sullivan
    January 2, 2022

    Such good writing filled with a poignant message of hope and truth – much needed and appreciated.

    Many decades ago a friend and mentor told me what you’ve written about regarding helping others/helping self. Oft times when locked in our own struggles, however, the pain blinds us from seeing others and we become incapable of reaching out. I understand and empathize having worn both shoes. Perhaps in 2022 I will do better.

    Thank you my friend. May this time of new beginnings bring you all that you wish for and desire.

    Lots of love,
    F

    • We often imagine we’re separate beings when, in truth, we’re inextricably connected to both our minds and the minds and hearts of others. I don’t know if anyone (especially me!) ever masters the art of being aware, but it’s a challenge to try! Finding friends like you makes the struggle worthwhile.

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