Sometimes there can be a fine line between kindness and indulgence.
I LOVE to drink fine loose teas. I have a morning ritual where I choose the tea I want, brew it just the way I like it in my favorite pot, then pour it into my lovely small cup and sip away. It’s a ritual that feeds me in many ways. There comes a point though when I can feel I have had enough. I begin to feel speedy. It usually happens after the second pot (the pot is small). Yet, I often indulge in a third pot. This past Sunday, as is my custom, I drew my Sunday morning bath (ok, so it was noon) as I brewed my third pot of tea. I could feel that intense, uncomfortable feeling that I get when I’ve had too much caffeine. My inner indulgent parent, who knows how much I love the tea and my Sunday routine, started trying to trick me into believing that it would be ok if I drank more. We always do, she said. The wiser adult part of me knew that the kinder thing would be to stop.
What did I do? I indulged. I drank one more small cup while soaking in the tub. Then I was kind and poured the rest of the pot out. It was a conscious choice but not the kindest choice. Since one of my intentions this year is KINDNESS I acknowledged I had indulged, I forgave myself and moved on. Well, actually I went to my computer and wrote this blog. 🙂
It went something like this, “I feel guilty, I can’t move forward, I’ve tried so many things, I’m still unhappy”. Finally, I got to the point where I was so tired of hearing, repeating and living this story that I sought the help of a Great Story Coach who kindly, with great honesty and bluntness, told me I was indulging in the false emotions of self-pity and guilt. I discovered I had been choosing to live in my victim story. The truth is that I wanted to stay stuck in my story because it was a safe place where I didn’t have to risk failure. When I was able to recognize this and began taking responsibility for feeling my more authentic feelings of rage and hurt (that were hidden underneath the self-pity and guilt), I was finally able to shift it.
What do you do when someone in your life has been repeating the same limiting story for years? Do you indulge or collude with them and fuel the story? Do you kindly, honestly tell them they need help? Or maybe you just stop engaging with them? It’s a challenging place to be and one that asks for compassionate truth.
It’s so easy to indulge in our victim stories. It’s far kinder to tell ourselves, or another, the deeper truth. Sometimes in our various relationships we grow stronger together when we are able to kindly tell a truth. And sometimes the kindest action is to end the relationship.
Whatever stories you have indulged in or indulge in others, the kinder action is to fully acknowledge it. Begin feeling all there is to feel and then forgive. Forgive yourself for not setting boundaries, for not being kind, whether in relationship to yourself or to another person.
I believe we create our own lives. All of it. Even when life is hard and seems unfair, when we realize that we create all of it, we can choose how we respond, how we learn and how we move forward.
Do we stay stuck in the indulgence of our stories or do we choose kindness and choose to learn from them and let them fuel our next chapters?
As you go through the next week, hold the inquiry gently, ask is this being kind or indulgent?
Please share what you discover below or send me an email. I would love to hear what you find.