How thorough is our kindness? Does it extend to ourselves?

 

A year ago, Ari Behn, a Norwegian author (whose books I haven’t read), took his own life. His family and friends have been very open about the suicide, how he was with friends and family, and how they experience the loss.

A common theme was how kind and encouraging he consistently was with other people, and how interested he was in them. Several mentioned that he never said an unkind word about anyone. And yet, it seems that he may not have related to himself and his own experience with the same kindness.

The question is: how thorough is our kindness?

How thorough is our kindness at a personal level? Does it extend to our own experiences? To our fears, anger, sadness, pain, wounds, traumas, discomfort, compulsions, and so on? Does it extend to the thoughts we have about ourselves and the world? Does it extend to the ideas and images we have about ourselves and the world?

Does it go to where it really counts, which ultimately is in our relationship to our own experiences and thoughts?

The situation with the author brings up a couple of other things for me.

If we repress anger, frustration, and so on, it tends to build up and can become overwhelming and unbearable. (I am not saying he did this, but it does fit the pattern of someone who never says a bad word about anyone.)

Another is that a precursor to this suicide apparently was chronic fatigue and loss of roles and identities. This is a reminder to question and see through these before we lose them (which we will), or at least do it after they are gone and find some peace with it.

Of course, I didn’t know him or his life, and all of this is just what comes up in me from that story.

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