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The Other Side of Kindness

seeking human kindness

Kindness isn’t always what you’d expect it to look like.

I’ve heard this saying going around on social media “people who are upset about your boundaries are people who benefited from you not having boundaries.”

Yes, yes and more yes.

I often find myself telling my clients that people treat you the way you treat yourself. If you often neglect your needs, people see that as something acceptable and continue to neglect your needs.

It’s ironic but when we do learn to be kind to ourselves, we are also giving the world permission to be kind to us.

So what does kindness really look like?

I see a big emphasis on “just do it,” “just help others.”

I heard a story once of a bus driver in Israel. He is inching to the bus stop and picks up the waiting passengers. A minute later, a woman starts banging and running after the bus. The bus driver drives away.

The whole bus is yelling at him. He is the bad guy in this story.

But one passenger notices a tear running down his cheek.

You see this bus driver just had twins. His financial situation is dire at home. He needs every penny from this job. His boss constantly reminds him “never stop for someone who comes to the bus stop late.” He so badly wants to help this woman, but he doesn’t want to risk losing his job and maybe risk feeding his family.

In this story – the bus driver seems unkind, uncaring and maybe even mean. When in reality, he is actually doing the kindness thing for his family.

Sometimes when we are working on our relationship with food, we need time to ourselves, to reflect and notice what’s going on for us. This being kind and caring towards yourself. Sometimes, when we start caring for ourselves, it rocks the boat, it confuses people, they get upset with us because we aren’t the “yes” person we’ve been always known to be. Sometimes, other people being upset with us isn’t about us.

I think for most women working on their relationship with food, it’s learning to sit with an uncomfortable feeling. It’s strong. It hurts. It’s overwhelming. But it passes. Eating in a way that feels out of control can transfer the pain of upsetting someone but it doesn’t fix the actual pain.

You can learn to let an emotion come in, hit your where it hurts, and leave just as it came. The more you do this, the easier it gets. You can learn to be kind to yourself and when you do that, you overflow with the deepest sense of kindness.

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Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Asa teenager, she was faced with constant ha talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food, she smuggled with disordered eating.This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a on-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.

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