When we are fearless we can be gentle with anyone – Kirsty Hulm
I was given this handprinted tea towel from my close friend Kirsty Hulm. It is from a series of her work with the same title. I love it. I intend to frame it and keep it in my lounge room. It reminds me to take risks, to be kind to myself, to be gentle and most of all to be fearless.
As a caregiver it is important to me to model to my child the values I hold dear. I really believe that fear and misery begets more misery and fear. When we are dominated by fear or anxiety our behaviour towards others can be very closed. It is difficult to live wholeheartedly when we are afraid of what that means.
So part of being fearless is learning to be kind with ourselves, allowing ourselves to connect to with others and taking risks. Most of all it is about allowing ourselves to be open, open to opportunity, to people, to love and to experiences. As studies by Brene Brown have discovered, those that live wholeheartedly, admit their fears and misgivings but still love fiercely, are the happiest.
I think sometimes it is easy to feel like we shouldn’t reveal part of ourselves because we may be rejected. We hide away and miss out on potential friendships as a result. I believe that in revealing our foibles to others we are in fact being kind. We let others know that we are not perfect, and isn’t it always a relief when that person you thought was perfect turns out to be real like you?
So by revealing our imperfections fearlessly we are allowing others the opportunity of insight. It gives others the space to admit the things that might be bothering them too. Understanding begets empathy. In this way we can be kind to one another. It is important, however, that we are positive about our imperfections. That we do not beat ourselves up, shame ourselves and in the process shame others with similar problems.
I often worry about the proliferation of facebook selfies. Through facebook we project our ‘best selves’. We one up one another with our perfect faces, houses, coffees, breakfasts, holidays and partners. It is easy to log onto the net, look at our news-feeds and feel deficient in our own lives. Its almost as if something hasn’t happened unless it is documented online and liked by our friends.
While I am just as guilty as anyone, I question whether it is healthy and whether we are being kind to ourselves or others. As a teacher, I sat with many kids who felt not good enough , felt overwhelmed by the images their peers projected and felt they could never match up.
Now that I am on maternity leave, and at home a great deal, I am also super aware of the effects the ‘face-feed’ can have on my self esteem. It is easy to feel like I’m drowning in washing, nappies and housework while my childless friends are booking holidays, posting pictures of their perfectly clean houses and attending swank events. When I stop and think about it, my life is full of joy, excitement and love and it is only when I start comparing myself that I feel deficient.
If used properly Facebook and other social media are powerful tools that can be used to help us connect. So this weekend, do your friends a kindness, upload a photo of your less than perfect self to your feed. Do it proudly, do it fearlessly. If you are brave enough, share it on our twitter or FB feed and tag it ‘#when we are fearless we can be gentle with anyone @bubbaswest’. Stay tuned, as we will be covering more on this topic and have an exciting project to announce soon.