This evening I read Mahatma Ghandi’s quote shared by one of the groups that I follow online, Sacred Circle Retreats. The quote is simply this, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”. Simple. Effective. True.
Also, this particular evening, I’m sitting with feelings of guilt and remorse, which are unbelievably heavy by the way, about hurting someone very dear to me. My daughter, my baby. Its an old feeling that you don’t know existed until one develops a conscious and realizes that we have the capacity to harm as much as we do to heal. I figure that around mid-childhood sounds about right, where we know that being unkind doesn’t feel good and we set out to be better next time.
I know as a parent I certainly strive for that goal of doing better next time. And although this issue comes up in other relationships of wife, nurse, community person, its the role of mother that I find it the hardest to tolerate errors in my humanness. Is it because we created this being and feel so damned responsible for everything that happens to them? Every piece of food must be pure and organic, every morsel of information needs to be nurturing and informational, each experience should enhance their beings and bring them closer to enlightenment? Sure, why not?
Except that for someone like me, that kind of thinking is a recipe for destruction. I could take the concept of child rearing, among others, to its absolute extreme and be off the charts in my desire to be not just good but perfect. With a capital P. PERFECT.
Its an illustration and symptom of a person with emotion regulation issues that we don’t tend to do anything on middle ground. We are out there at the fringes. This obviously requires close monitoring and loving care especially during stressful times. A time when I’ve hurt someone and have the tendency to lose myself in guilt. Being sensitive sucks during times like this.
As I read the quote, knowing that Ghandi meant something entirely different, I stick on the words “gently” and realize for the millionth time that we must tread lightly on each other and the world. Slowly, I reel myself in and promise an awareness to be gentle in any way that I impact her world. I remind myself AGAIN how words and actions can wound and I charge myself guilty of being flawed and human. Please let me use this blog post as my confessional tonight as I purge some emotion. I can’t get this off of me fast enough.
I find that its a perfect time to practice the DBT skills I’ve learned over the years to offer myself compassion as well as the person I’ve harmed. Today this issue is manageable whereas it wouldn’t have been before. So maybe I have learned something along the way and perhaps I really am honoring my notion of doing better the next time.
At least I know that self forgiveness instead of self flagellation feels a whole lot better….and gentler.