Tuesday, April 5, 2011

APRIL 5th Feelin' Feisty Yet Trying To Be Kind

Hi to Journal, Friends & Soon-To-Be-Ex-Followers,

For all of you who tend to be opinionated-- like me -- dontcha just love having a blog where you can spout off... and it's okay, cuz it's YOUR blog??!!  ;-)

Okay... I had this all written up about 4 hours ago. But didn't post it because I just KNEW it was written out of exasperation! So... I tried to tone it down without losing the meaning.  We shall see if I succeeded. :-}

When I was "younger" I had a big mouth. My Mother called it a sharp tongue. It's taken me a looonng time to dull that point a teensy bit... and I still forget at times. But at least NOW I am aware how much our careless words can cut someone, and I don't forget as often.

Recently I read a blog that I could relate to. As you regulars readers know, my Dad died on March 7th of this year.  I wasn't able to attend the funeral, so at the appointed time I lit a candle and held my own "ceremony".

The little ceramic cat-shaped planter on the left as
 you look at the candle was given to my parents when 
I was born, and represents me. The hour-glass on 
the right is out of sand, and represents my Dad. 

Like I've mentioned before, I've been struggling with my feelings, and trying not to use food as a source of comfort. While I haven't had any binges like the old days... I've still overeaten at times. I can only imagine my reaction if someone had jumped down my throat and decided it was their job, unbidden, to "call me out" and chew tail, because I hadn't handled it perfectly.

Well, in my blog visiting, I recently read where Blogger #1 (I shall respect their privacy, okay?) posted about the recent death of a dearly loved relative. Someone they were so close to, and they were dealing with the pain of this loss. They were processing their feelings, being honest and vulnerable about the struggle... and one of the ways was through blog writing, and their particular craft.

I, and others, left comments of support... just trying to touch, heart to heart. I know grieving is a personal thing. Back in 2004 when my Mother died, I  was so devastated. We had been so close, and there are days even now I dearly miss her and it gets to me. 

One of the kindest things the Hospice nurses did was to let me talk to them, and they taught me about grieving. That it is a very personal and unique thing for each person. NO ONE has any business telling another how to grieve, or when, or how to process it. They made a huge difference in my life, and I am so grateful for them. They encouraged me to do it MY way, whatever was right for me.

Grieving is a dark tunnel for one. We go in alone, we come out the other side alone. Others extend love and comfort and support. But the processing, the "grieving", is a solo experience. Well, you and your God. But you know what I mean, right?

Back to Blogger #1.

So... Blogger #2 comes along and leaves a comment telling Blogger #1 that they are feeling sorry for theirself, and proceeds to "kick butt"... offering what they perceive, I am sure, as "tough love."

Remember, this is to someone who has newly lost someone nearest and dearest to them! 

Let me repeat myself: NO ONE has any business telling another how to grieve. 

How to handle it... how long to feel it... what kinds of rituals or remembrances to have... how to process their feelings. Yes, share from your own experiences, perhaps what helped YOU. That would be kind and compassionate.

But KICKING BUTT????? I was appalled and angry.

If anyone reading this is of the "tough love" camp... please feel free to "unfollow" me. I will not be offended. It's easy to offer tough love, to throw out a quick sharp comment, then move on to the next blog, feeling smug and pleased with yourself. After all... YOU get it and They don't... and you just "helped" them get it. Uh huh... just keep telling yourself that. 

It's harder and takes MORE strength to offer kindness, patience, understanding, and to feel pain with another. To just BE there. To wish you could do more, but to accept that this is their own journey, and all you can do is offer support. The reason I say that is harder and takes more strength, is because you don't go away "feeling" better about yourself like you do when you leave a TOUGH LOVE comment... all smug and feeling like you really did something to be proud about... that you "helped" someone by kicking their butt. 

If you are asked to fill that role, fine.
If you are given permission to blast someone, fine.
If someone wants that kind of feedback from you for accountability, fine.

Otherwise: STUFF A SOCK IN IT!!!!!!

This applies to how others handle their grief...
This applies to what kind of "diet" people follow to achieve their weight loss...
This applies to the kind of exercise (or not) that people choose...

We are here to support each other... and sometimes that comes in the form of acceptance, because not everyone will do it "my" way. So... try to be kind. You can tell the truth... but be kind.

"Speak yer mind... but ride a fast horse."  --Cowboy proverb 

From Dr Phil's book: "Be kind when you can, but firm when you must. You alone are responsible for what you put in your mouth, and what you do to get in shape."

My verse for today: "...clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

My quote for today: "Just because an animal is large, it doesn't mean he doesn't want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo."  --Winnie the Pooh

Enjoy the Journey,


DAY 599


Christine said...

I too, used to have a sharp tongue. Then I had a whole series of really crappy things happen....and i didn't always handle them perfectly..and also once you go through life and you think you are doing great, but you look up one day and all your hard work has gotten you to a dead end....you stop being so cock sure. I only know what works for me. I find lately I would rather bite my tongue than regret my words.

E. Jane said...

Very well said, Loretta. You got it right!

Anonymous said...

:D Loved this. The whole thing, but especially this part:

"If anyone reading this is of the "tough love" camp... please feel free to "unfollow" me. I will not be offended. It's easy to offer tough love, to throw out a quick sharp comment, then move on to the next blog, feeling smug and pleased with yourself. After all... YOU get it and They don't... and you just "helped" them get it. Uh huh... just keep telling yourself that."

I nodded thru this entire post.

And this is from someone who has done the "tough love" bit with the best of intentions, but was often wrong for doing it.

I come from a different place, you see and had to learn to ratchet it back the hard way. (Which is probably why I like that "be kinder than necessary" quote.)

You see, people used to PAY ME to give them tough love. They wanted me to get to the point, help them dig out the reral issue and define it clearly. They were paying me by the hour--they did not want to spend too much of their hour time with me patting their hand and saying sweet things. They had friends for that.

I forgot--and still do sometiems--that not only are people no longer paying for my input, but we haven't established the trusting relationship that I did with my clients before I kindly (I did try to be kind in my truth telling.) provided some truth to offset the stuff we all tell ourselves.

And here's how I learned my lesson: people gave me what they thought was tough love by way of comments and it hurt me deeply. I felt slapped. And after the sting subsided, I realized that I had said much the same to others--although hopefully I was not as caustic.

I've been working on it. And, Loretta, you are absolutely right! (I imagine you saw my comment on that post. Uh-hmmm. I may not have waited long enough before I wrote it. sigh.)

And to those of you who have read to the bottom of this comment--if I have been insensitive in my comments on your blog, I am very sorry. I meant well...

Thanks, Loretta. Truly, a great post.


MargieAnne said...

Good thinking. One of the things that appalls me is the lack of kindness and graciousness especially among under 35s. It seems the smart thing to be cutting, crude and ugly. I don't get it and have learned to sidestep. It's hard on the internet to not be misunderstood sometimes. Words spoken with a smile and twinkle in the eye often become harsh in text. It's better to be "kinder than necessary."

Anyway, what I really came here to say is, Thanks for the comment you left me yesterday. I shall now read Margene's blog form the beginning. I'm sure it will do me good.


Pretty Pauline said...

Here, here!

Karen Elizabeth Brown said...

Hoop-la! I like it!

downsizers said...

It is also easy to come across more harsh than we intend when the words are all there is to carry the meaning. We don't have the body language or the eye contact and this can make a big difference. The "younger generation" do have an "in your face" way of communicating at times but this is in part due to the computer. We just don't converse face to face like back in the day. I read my posts and comments several times before I hit that button and have changed things around before because I wasn't sure if the meaning that was carried was the one I intended.

financecupcake said...

The ceremony you had for your dad looks like it was beautiful. Thanks for sharing the picture and moment with us, Loretta.

Yea, I've seen a lot of nastiness in the blog world lately. I'm not sure who made the nasty comment to which you refer in this post, but I must stand up for my generation and say that I haven't seen any negative comments from the under-35s; rather, the nastiness seems to come from the over-45s (a good have dozen bloggers immediately come to mind). I try only to associate with postive bloggers, so maybe I've just missed out on the nastiness of my generation.

The Brown Recluse (TBR) said...

Amen! It does seem to be for some folks if they have a little success, suddenly if you don't do it their way (or how they think they would do it if they were walking in your shoes) then you aren't doing it right. Often, these are the folks who fall the hardest. Hopefully, when they do, they learn, get up, and go on.

MissyMcM said...

Well put.

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Sometimes it is hard to know what to do. And sometimes it is best to do nothing. That can be hard to remember. To me, true tough love actually goes to the point of not allowing others to continue treating you like crap by way of their selfish behavior. Nothing more. Tough love is not really about telling others what to do. It is stopping the process of enabling and a random blogger has no business trying to delve into that. You know what they say: If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

M Pax said...

Ah, I know grief is personal. Been dealing with it myself. I still think of my brother-in-law and cry sometimes. For him, my sister and his daughters and just because we'll never laugh together again.

It is personal. However, you get through it, I will not judge you. Email me anytime you need to talk or vent.

I will always encourage and support you. I think you're awesome. :)

Anne H said...

Right here with you, Miss L..
Since Death and Dying is all I do,
I never forget how hard it is for the families!
Bless your sweet and kind heart!

Rae Rae J said...

Loved the "Soon-To-Be-Ex-Followers" haha :) Tell em!

Parry Peach said...

Hi, Loretta - I just discovered your blog and I hope you don't mind if I comment. I lost my mom 7 years ago and my dad 20 years ago. There are days when I STILL well-up and shed tears when overcome with memories or just missing them. The best support anyone can offer for grief, in my opinion, is just to listen. We usually don't need advice when we're grieving. We just need someone brave enough (when talking about death) and caring enough to let us express our pain and just listen. Sometimes "tough love" is just fear expressed by people who are trying to run away from their own feelings and fears. It seldom works for them or anyone else. I'm sorry for your loss and admire you for setting limits. It IS your blog!

Joy said...

I am so sorry this has happened. Blogging, emailing, texting can be hard. Sometimes the intention does not come across in the written word. I don't know what was written, but I know I've typed things one way, intending it to be of truth, love and acceptance, but it was read, by the receiver, differently. It would kill me if I ever offended anyone.

I am glad you had a ceremony for your dad. That is awesome!

Keep focused!!

Anonymous said...

I really love what you did for your Dad in your own private ceremony.

Very special Loretta...just like you.


PeacefulBird said...

Wish I had seen this post when you wrote it. And, as you might guess, I wish I could see your unedited version.

Your comment on my post, the one you wrote after "kick butt" had her say, was so understanding and supportive that it took away all the sting. Thank you, dear heart. And thanks for posting this too. I agree with Jackie that the "kick butts" in this world are probably running away from their own feelings. I assume she really wants the best for me, even though what she said stung.

I love the blue bottles, and the way you place yourself and your dad on either side of the candle. Drawing and writing morning pages are helping me... think now I'll draw and decorate a place where Mom and I can meet.


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