Today’s title is borrowed from the book The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life by Piero Ferrucci.
Kindness in the Wake of a Storm
Following last week’s post, ‘Mercy Me! Measles Again,’ life has been a rather topsy-turvy ride. As parents, you are likely reeling as well after phone calls from public health and public school boards with requests to vaccinate/revaccinate your children with the MMR.
In the interview with Jeremy Nolais of the Calgary Metro News, I was called a ‘contrarian’ because my point of view on vaccination is to make informed decisions regarding the risks and benefits of infectious illness as well as the risks and benefits of vaccination. I can live with that. The Huffington Post then picked up the story and ran with the headline ‘Metro Calgary Quotes Anti-Vaccine Homeopath Day After Measles Outbreak Declared.’ Gee…how does one go from contrarian to anti-vaccine in one day? Can I live with that title of anti-vaccine? Although it is quite unfair, I can live with it. Not my point of view or position on vaccination, but it is the Huffington Post who has it wrong, not me.
Sticks and Stones Hurt– Words Do Too
I refuse to read the comments on the Huffington Post. The hatred and fear are palpable and reverberate through my whole being. Some of you have read through the comments and shared with me the statements that are fair. Thank you. Some readers have taken time to write personal notes. Thank you. Some of you I have known for some time through my practice and know that I have done my very best to support each of you in your vaccination decisions. You have written me to tell me that. Thank you. My hope is that you have felt supported whether you have chosen to be vaccinated or not.
In the meantime, you as parents also face potential backlash for your vaccine choices. Rather than feel stuck in the unfairness of life and name-calling, I decided that this would be our blog post topic this week.
So I have been thinking, how do we handle this kind of meanness? And this is about life in general, so for the readers who are not directly involved with the current vaccine issue, I think this topic is worth sharing at a general level.
Where in your life have you had a difference of opinion in which others felt threatened by what you had to say? And then they got mean… deep down, name-calling mean. How have you handled it?
Laughter is Good Medicine
When the worst of the worst email arrived in my email inbox (very crude suggestion of what to do with a rake) Wednesday morning, I went through several stages. Shock and utter disbelief that someone would write what they did and then anger, sadness, and finally, kind of numb. What to do, if anything?
So I did what I often do — I asked for help so I could make an ‘informed decision.’ I called the city police information line (the person in question actually used what looks like a real email address) and was told it is ‘just a nasty email and not much to be done legally with it.’ (Life threatening is when the police step in.) So I asked if I should still save a copy, to which the kind officer replied, “Absolutely!’
I then shared the content of the note with a couple of friends and their love and support was unconditional. That is when I realized: I had only one REALLY nasty email (only counting the one I read — I am sure the comments on Huffington Post are many and mean). How much more have others faced on a daily basis? My friend, whose support was immediate and unconditional, faces ridicule and meanness every day. Parents…and kids…being bullied and intimidated, especially on social media and the online forums of news media. What kind of insanity is this?
Lastly I phoned my husband to let him know about the ‘email.’ I read the message to him and his reply was, ‘did you write back and ask him which end of the rake to use?” He laughed like a loon and I did too. Gone…all the nastiness, gone. Laughter is good medicine.
So I took the ‘nasty’ and bombarded it with healing, love and light. Much healthier choice for me…bit of a challenge to do, but with each reading and sending of love, I feel better.
The choice I had? Live with all my inner ‘hate’ dialogue toward someone I do not know or…change the inner talk to love. Keeping the hate dialogue going would have harmed my health in the end. Just look at the Emoto experiments with water — if I am 60% water, I can bombard my cells with hate from inner dialogue or I can find a way to ‘talk love’ so that my cells can be restored to balance. Guess which one I will choose every time, even if it is hard and I feel justified in my anger?
Get Information, Share, Laugh and Be Kind to Yourself
There it is…my top tips on how to deal with nastiness and meanness. Hopefully I will remember all this the next time a nasty email finds its way into my inbox.
Be strong in your self-love. Be kind to yourself when you have been hurt at the expense of someone else’s meanness. Laugh and know that others love and support you and your choices.
Yours in health and healing,