Actually, it's not just on my sleeve. It's prominently featured, like in the men made of tin and iron. It glows from within, guiding me along my journey. Sometimes it leads the way and other times I veer off-course so as to protect it from harm.
And that's where today's post takes us. My protective concern has ultimately done more harm than good in some instances. Allow me to elaborate. Those who have been following along since I began posting with the ACHA last year know that I've had a love/hate relationship with my weight. I don't exercise nearly enough as I should and I'm very stubborn when it comes to enforcing any kind of strict diet. The difference in my appearance is evident to all, especially me, over the past two years. I've had ups and downs in minor achievements but have yet to really make a massive change in my life—primarily because I spend so much time focused on how I can help others that I don't pay enough attention to myself.
Being kind-hearted, open-minded, compassionate and understanding at times elicits sympathy from those around me. They tell me I need to be meaner, harsher and that I'm just "too nice." And that's a bad thing how? There are those I've encountered along my life path who are able to blend confidence with acceptance. Strength with forgiveness. And assertiveness with politeness. It's quite possible and what I strive for.
Where others live with anger, negativity and judgment, I intentionally treat each person I meet with kindness—with a smile, a kind word and an open mind. There are plenty of people in this world, and I'm sure you've met quite a few, who spend their days miserable. And have no qualms about spreading that disillusionment to others. They invoke certain authoritative roles like parent, employer, judge or policy-maker, then use those perceived higher positions to reinforce their own sense of pride. They choose to "help" others from a distance instead of getting in the mix of life. Instead of remembering what it was like to be a child, employee, or citizen.
I have a natural inclination to mentor others. To act as a companion along their own path. Not to instruct, inform or even demand. Not to tell them what path to take or how to live their lives, but to walk beside them for as long as they need support. Because in helping them I ultimately learn more about myself, my strengths and my weaknesses.
My heart guides me. It gives me strength. And those qualities of kindness, unwavering support and open-mindedness create a level of strength that I'll wager is more powerful than any "because I said so" mentality.
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