Less Than Strong

“The loneliest people can be the kindest. The saddest people sometimes smile the brightest. The most damaged people are filled with wisdom. All because they do not wish the pain they’ve endured on another soul.” – Timothy Delvecc

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Hi everyone. I’m not promising that this post will make much sense but I need to write a few things down. Bear with me and perhaps some coherence will emerge….

So it’s been a tough few days.
Sometimes it’s not immediately apparent to me things aren’t quite right. I don’t always realise that I’m not feeling myself or acknowledge that the sinking feeling is back. That sadness seems to have become a default setting again.

I’d love to know whether feeling, well, less than strong causes me to feel more of the world’s pain than I should, or whether being susceptible or sensitive to the world’s cruelty makes me Less Than Strong. A chicken-and-egg situation perhaps?

I watch the news and read. I look and listen and I consume too much social media and sometimes it seems that everywhere I look there is pain. This week alone there are child killers being released from prison. The mentally ill are being stigmatised by the world’s most read newspaper. Children are suffering in Syria (and all over the word) and babies are fighting cancer. Friends of mine are suffering illness, depression, loss. It feels like life gets harder and crueller and it’s overwhelming.

Have you ever looked around at your messy house or another task which seems enormous? Thought about how there is so much work to be done that you may as well just do nothing? Maybe that’s just me. But that’s how I feel at the moment. Literally and metaphorically speaking. I’ll come home and plan to sort the laundry or wash the floors or whatever. Then it all seems too overwhelming so I’ll just sit instead. But I won’t be able to rest or relax and I’ll feel guilty. I feel that way about the world and life.

Like there is so much I could or should be doing to affect change. Help people. But it’s all too much. It hurts to think about it. So I do nothing. I sit and think about friends I should contact or charity work I should do. Then I distract myself with the Internet and more and more sadness seems to find me there. It’s endless, really.

I know that I should stay away from sad stories and not watch the news if it upsets me. My mum said so and I’m trying. But it just doesn’t seem right to walk around in a bubble of ignorance.

I tried strategically thinking happy thoughts and counting my blessings. But that just causes more panic:
“I’m so fortunate! Look at everything that could go wrong! Something bad will happen if I indulge in too much gratitude, surely?”.

What I’m trying to remember is that reality is only in the moment.
This moment. Thoughts pass and I must let them. The very fact that I’m able to rationalise this is a really good sign for me. I’m grateful for being able to write this down and for being capable of thinking this through. I know this is a temporary state of mind. Today I can sit and write whereas yesterday all I wanted to do was lay in bed. I didn’t, but only because my children need me.

The other day, in traffic it occurred to me that we can rush through life quickly when the lights are all green. We can reach our destination so much faster. But once the lights turn red we’re forced to slow down. We can take in surroundings that we’d otherwise rush past. Catching a chain of red lights can be inconvenient at best and can sometimes screw up your entire day. But sometimes being forced to slow down or stop gives us the chance to think and reflect and to collect our thoughts when we’ve got nowhere else to go.

So for now, I’ll wait here until the lights change again. Because change again they will.

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18 thoughts on “Less Than Strong

  1. Stop right there. I need to pull you up on something you have said:

    “Like there is so much I could or should be doing to affect change. Help people. But it’s all too much. It hurts to think about it. So I do nothing.”

    You DO NOT do nothing. You do more, so much more, than most people I know. You genuinely care about the people around you. You treat them with kindness and compassion. You bring your children up to be caring and loving. You stand up for those being bullied or having a hard time (like you did just this morning on my own Facebook timeline) and you are a wonderful friend. When I was having my own dark time recently I could have turned to any one of my friends or family. The one I wanted was you. The friend who I knew would listen without judging, who would treat me with kindness and compassion and gentleness and understanding.

    You need to think about the ripples on the lake (which I think is an analogy I’ve given you before, but as it’s so appropriate I’ll say it again). The small ripples, the ones nearest to you, are your friends and family who are in pain, in need of a hug or a chat or a cry. The big ripples, a long way away, are child killers and children in Syria. They’re too far and too big, and NO single person has the power to change them. It is not in your power and it is not your responsibility.

    But imagine if each of us was like you. Genuinely doing all we can to improve the small ripples; the ones we can reach. Modelling kind and thoughtful behaviour. Really wanting to improve the lives of people who are within our reach. Because then the smallest ripples would pass that on to the slightly bigger ripples.

    The only way any of us can make the world a better place is to be the best person we can be. And you really are. Keep doing what you are doing sweetheart. You do so much more than you know xx

    • Thank you. I seem to have something in my eye all of a sudden….

      Thank you for your reminder and your perspective. I’d forgotten about the ripples and I definitely need to remember them:

      “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
      ― Mother Teresa

      I am going to have this made in to some wall art somehow and put it somewhere really prominent. Either that or a tattoo…

      Much much love xx

  2. I have just started with my children that every day each of them has to write one kind thing they have done for someone else. It is unbelievable to see the metamorphosis in the house in general. I couldn’t change the worlds cruelty but I could make my cocoon a better place to be. When I’m down its a book I can pick up and remember there is love in the world – at least in my world!

    • Ruth I can’t tell you how much I love the idea of a kindness book to fill in each day. I am going to start this with my children and once they’re able to write properly themselves they can fill it in. Really beautiful idea. Thank you for commenting x

  3. How do you do it, Rachel?? How do you come into my life when I need it??!! What you do, speaks out to me so much, it’s literally changing my life. You are doing such good without even knowing it.

    Thank you for being you and for having the courage to speak up….I love you and I don’t even know you!!!

    Much love, tejal xxx

  4. Thank you Rachel for yet another inspiring and thought provoking post. As all the others have said above, YOU wonderful YOU, kind, thoughtful and deeply compassionate YOU really make a difference to all our lives when we read each post. Above all, it helps us feel that we are not alone, not weird, crazy women but just women trying to do the very best we can for ourselves, our families and friends.
    Life today is just so full of pretence about the so called perfect lives that people lead but it’s so often just a veneer and it’s so utterly refreshing to read your posts about real life.
    Your friends and family are very lucky to have you in their lives and for each and every one of them, you make a difference.
    Your children are still very young and until they are both at school, it is very difficult to fit anything else into the chaos young children bring into our lives!
    Be comforted that you make a dig difference in the lives of every person that reads your blog – well done you!
    Thanks for sharing xx

  5. Another beautifully written blog which speaks from, and to, the heart. Have faith that the lights will change and in the meantime admire the little hedgerow flowers you’d have missed otherwise; and remember you can’t solve the big problems but by solving the little ones – and helping women like me remember that we are not alone, crazy or weird – you’re helping to make less big ripples in the future. Thank you

  6. I am totally guilty of perusing and never commenting on internet posts but i feel compelled to express to you my thanks for your genuinely moving pieces. Today’s post is not confusing at all. It makes perfect sense. To me anyway. It’s as though you have taken the thoughts out of my head that most of the time, (despite being an elequent and communicative person) I cannot seem to express or describe to my husband or those close to me that do not understand depression. Todays post is timed so perfectly. As I am sat on my sofa feeling unbelievably overwhelmed by my to do list. Guilt is probably my biggest obstacle. I confess your post may not have had the intended desired effect on me but you should know that it has ‘affected’ me in a positive way and made me feel less alone in my sometimes very confusing world of personal pain and trouble. I know that there are others out there that feel exactly as I do and when others can seemingly ‘get on’ with things, I often struggle with the most menial of tasks. I am aware I am rambling but will thank you once more. X x

  7. Another reminder coming at you…your blog is about being kind to ourselves and each other. You are so hard on yourself. Just keep reading all these comments and soak them up, see how much just being you and expressing yourself so eloquently touches other women. You are so mindful and thoughtful, please ease up on yourself my love. You are fab! Xx

    • I want to second this. I don’t think you *should* necessarily feel you have to be helping people. For a start, I know when I see your posts that it’s going to be thoughtful and kind and this reaffirms my faith in how wonderful people can be. It’s not all about big gestures. Sometimes you don’t know the good you are doing. Be kind to yourself.

  8. I can empathize with every word you have just written! I too have been feeling less than strong this week. Thank you for sharing, it’s good to know that everyone has moments like this. I suffer from anxiety and have red light moments when everything gets overwhelming. They are frightening at the time but I know they will pass like they always do. Like the others said, don’t be too hard on yourself! Your blog is so inspiring, keep your chin up! Xxx

  9. How is it that I can look at you and your blog, and group and everything you do and think to myself – why can’t I help change the world like Rachel? – and you can look at it and say – I do nothing?
    Reality, perspective, life. It is all funny this way.
    From where I am standing you are doing so much, helping so many, being a change and causing it. I really applaud you, and I am sure your light will change soon.
    I have to say though, a bubble? Not always a bad idea.

  10. Rachel – judging by the comments, we have much to thank you for. Your ability to express your thoughts and feelings so eloquently provides a connection and community for so many women and mums. I believe that you experience the world in this way for a reason and that what you are experiencing is your calling. Many women – post children and the huge change that brings – realise that there is something else that they are called to do – which creates internal conflict and emotional upheaval. Notice what feels uncomfortable and then let it go, follow what brings you joy and happiness and do more. In the words of Marianne Williamson ” Our deepest fear…” – you know the rest. There is so much you do and so much need for what you share – big love to you x

  11. This is a post that I can totally and utterly empathise with and I am in this very situation at the moment (I have been for a while). Funnily enough my other half and I have literally just been having a discussion about life running away with you – I am going to share this post with him! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

  12. Pingback: Ripples and Revolutions | Mummy Kindness

  13. This has helped me out a lot so thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your thoughts have made me realise I’m not the only one who feels like not wanting to get up and finding small things such has housework a massive task and that these feelings are quite normal for us mums and that I’m not going mad. Your words are so inspirational.

  14. You are a bright light…don’t allow the darkness from the world to dim it. Keep moving forward and continue to surround yourself with people who raise you up. These feelings are quite normal as you read on my blog. Much love to you. Your words are inspirational and uplifting. keep it up. You never know who needs to be touched by them.

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