I recently read a very old and very short fictional story called “Young Goodman Brown” about a young man who initially has faith in the basic, universal goodness of humanity. But things occur in the story to shake his faith. It falters then collapses and he’s convinced there isn’t much goodness in humans.
This story, if I understand correctly, is inspired by the author’s real life situations.
I have been analyzing it and reading an analysis of it. It reminds me of a few quotes that are somewhere along the lines of “Be kind to people in general, even unkind ones, not because they’re kind but because you are.”
This quote implies kindness as a way of life and not a mere occasional act or feeling in response to environmental situations. Even when people are not kind, YOU still are. You can let your kind Way and your kind philosophy waver and lash out in unkindness or you can keep it firm and grounded and stay true to yourself even in the face of other people’s bitterness.
If you are a kind person, it’s easy to be loving, kind, compassionate…when it’s convenient, when you’re currently surrounded by goodness, beauty, sweetness, kindness, love.
But what about when you are currently surrounded by someone else’s bitterness, what about when you encounter a rude person or a very unpleasant situation? It can be so tempting to let our own kind, loving, compassionate, optimistic ways crumble. And that doesn’t make someone a bad person. Most of us probably have relapses and setbacks and it is natural to be defensive in situations where you feel threatened in some way. But even in the midst of stress, chaos, rude people, negativity, pain, you’re still that kind, loving, caring you that you generally are. You’re still the you who believes in goodness, kindness, and love. Don’t forget you. Be true to and honor the you that you are.
You can build yourself so strong nothing will break what you are, nothing will bring your life philosophy, your morals and virtues, your principles, your deep wisdom to destruction. This isn’t to say we should be closed minded and restrained by our views that nothing and no one can enlighten us, educate us, or persuade us to a different view if we find evidence that that view may be true or better for us. It’s to say that we don’t have to lose faith that people are basically good just because of an encounter with a few bad ones, we don’t have to resort to unkindness and bitterness because others are, we don’t have to stop loving because we find someone doesn’t love us in return, we don’t have to wish bad things for people because they wish bad things for us, we don’t have to let pain, horror, negativity, fear, depression, fury…bring our deep wisdom to ruin. We don’t have to let painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions convince us that life is bad.
We can have a firm sense of who we are and honor that someone, always. We can change, grow, expand, evolve in various ways but stay true to who we are.
This story and thoughts and concept helps me so much when I’m depressed or becoming depressed/suicidal.
I haven’t been real depressed for a while but a few nights ago I felt myself kind of slipping. I was in a depressed mood, not yet a full blown depressive episode but a very low, depressed mood and couldn’t sleep right. Through the years of my depressive illness I learned how to often, though not always, prevent a full blown episode when I feel it about to hit. And when I’m not successful in preventing it, I’m often better now, at coping with and “breezing right through it” than I could years ago. So I was trying so hard not to let it get me.
I can often tell when I’m about to become suicidal or when suicidal thinking is about to occur. A few nights ago, I was having suicidal thoughts that felt as if they were just getting stronger and stronger, not urges, not contemplation but if it got out of hand, it could have been headed that way. There was no event that was currently happening to me to trigger this. I was on the verge of faltering. Serious suicidal contemplation hasn’t happened for me in well over a year now. And I did not then and do not now want a relapse after all my hard work to prevent that sort of thinking/urges. But it takes a lot of energy to ward off those thoughts, feelings, emotions when I feel them swirling around in my head. A lot of energy and strength. I was angry, depressed and wanted to let myself sink and slip into that dark place I once lived, so long.
But I thought of my Way. My own Way. My own life philosophy that life is beautiful and hope can be restored. There’s so much to live for. Even through the pain, life is a blessing. Gratitude saves my life sometimes. When I’m so drained and ready to cave, I think of all I have. All that I am. It took a lot of practice to get my life philosophy so ingrained into me that it helps me fend off suicidal/depressive attacks. But I have accomplished so much with it.
It takes practice and work to build yourself so strong that even in the face of misery and seemingly unbearable pain and even being dragged into other people’s negativity,you remain true to yourself. Your deep, authentic self who knows true wisdom and your own Truth.
I hope you will choose to honor you, your true deep self, when you feel yourself slipping in any way, about to cave and give into negative actions. This isn’t only for depressed people who have what I have but even people without depression. Almost everyone has some kind of struggles or pain and can use some loving inspiration now and again.
“Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved;we love to love.” ~ Leo Buscaglia
Xoxo Kim 😀