“Although it is embarrassing and painful, it is very healing to stop hiding from yourself.” -Pema Chodron
Kind Teachers and Best Friends
If you have ever witnessed a skillful teacher or helper in a room full of kindergartners, you’ll have seen that there is a distribution of attention that notices and acknowledges each child. This one, over here, is playing sweetly with the new girl, who yesterday, was very shy and seemed anxious, and now, seems to be more relaxed. This one, is fidgety. This one, getting a little greedy with the toys. This one is riding that edge where ‘leadership’ becomes ‘bossy’. This one seems to be on the edge of crumpling as naptime approaches.
Obviously, a teacher’s job is to give all of these little people the skills they need to relate to each other well, to sit long enough in their seats over time to engage attention, to regulate, to be curious and to grow. But to get there, that skillful teacher loves and accepts and acknowledges each child through all of their many moods and emotions. If they just paid attention to the children who at any moment are cooperative, the ones that need to be heard and seen would just come up with more dramatic ways to get teacher’s attention. If they spent the day chasing down and trying to change the behaviors of the children who are acting out, they would miss noticing the kind exchanges, the quiet opportunities to get to know the shy ones. If they mistakenly defined this one as ‘good’ and this one as ‘bad’, well, we know how well that goes….
The kind teacher holds this spacious attention, knowing that every child deserves to be in that room, that every experience is needed for the development of ever-widening skillfulness. The kind teacher knows that ….each and every one needs at least one hug every day.
And they need the hugs when they are hurting even more than when they are sailing along, having a great day.
Today, can you be your own best teacher? Or perhaps your own best friend? Best friends see us as more than our moods or our stories, and they love us even when we aren’t perfect.
Last week in our 28-day program we explored these qualities as we practiced mindful self-compassion.
What kind teacher or best friend do you hold in your heart as someone who embodied deep acceptance? Patience? Compassion?
Share this with someone who has shown you what kindness feels like.