A few weeks ago, I started to consciously consider what was happening on a daily basis, in terms of loving and nurturing myself.
I was going through a difficult period, away from the peaceful solitude of my beloved sanctuary, my home, in an environment that was challenging every day, where making compromises was necessary in each moment.
A month long task of love and support for someone at the centre of my life was called for, someone whose own life seemed to be falling apart to them.
They were understandably scared and unable to appreciate the value of my presence or kindly intentions because of their health, anxiety and personality. Things were not running smoothly between us and we were both struggling.
I needed to look after myself as I looked after them but was too tired and too busy.
It took effort to structure some acts of self love instead of simply pouring myself into practical tasks for my charge. I made changes that slowed down my day and set me up for it much better. Initially, things changed.
It changed the atmosphere in the house and both our attitudes lightened. We began to be constructive, considering little ways to brighten the day and we related to each other with more harmony.
It didn’t last for more than a day or two because we were in such a difficult and challenging situation. The darkness still had plenty of gifts to bring and is still bringing them, but it brought a reprieve for a while, a refresh that could be repeated.
More importantly, it helped me remember something important, that when someone behaves badly towards us, there might very well be a scared and wounded child hiding inside that person, no matter how old they are.
Such circumstances are best met with gentleness and understanding, if possible, even when the natural impulse is to treat them as the enemy, which is reasonable when we’re under attack. I do know just how hard a thing that can be to do.
Especially when it’s a parent who was supposed to be the one to love us. Sometimes, that’s something that parents never learn how to do and it’s a big lesson for us to be the receiver of such a realisation.
When I look at myself now, I am proud of how I’ve navigated such a journey. I’m learning to be the bigger person.
When someone treats us poorly, we can always choose to be the bigger person by not answering their aggression with our own. And this is as true for nations as it is for personal relationships.
[Image: ‘Brilliance’ art by Amenet Drago]