I said I would share how I got to the other side. The whole learning to like myself thing.

Along the way, I have learned to be kind. I have learned to practice empathy.

The empathy lessons came from Brene Brown’s book I Thought It Was Just Me. Those lessons helped me when I got shat upon from The Dude’s ex.

A month later when the 13 year old had an emergency appendectomy, I reached out to her, telling her whatever she needed I was here. (I should mention that my new house – my smaller home – is 5 houses down from hers.) When I checked in to see how he was doing, she answered. Then I checked to see how SHE was doing. Because that kindness cost me nothing. I chose to be one mama reaching out to another. Regardless of all the reasons I could have lined up to not care, I chose kindness when I knew she was alone in that hospital room with her baby boy.

I’ve chosen to listen to others and to TRY to say a kind word. Something supportive. I’ve made an effort to reach out to others via twitter, facebook, blog comments. Nothing huge, but just that small giving back after how much I have been given. The “thinking of you” email to let someone know they just aren’t completely alone. I know the value of receiving that now, so I’m trying to pass it on.

I’m learning to be kind to myself. I have yet to make it to the grocery store . . . in the last 2 weeks. I have these grand plans of menu planning – yet I’ve ordered pizza FOUR times this week. I was trying to figure out why I couldn’t get off my ass and get that errand done – and then reminded myself of the installing hardwood in my house this week. With Alex. Me and a 4 year old doing construction. (Those photos are of just the one room I did. I don’t have the ones up yet of the room I cleaned, painted and put the flooring in.)

I encouraged myself while doing that flooring project, “What a great job you are doing. I know it’s fucking hotter than hell in here, I know you are sweating and thirsty and Alex is wanting to help, you are being so patient with him and plugging away at this project. It will look so good when you are done. I am so proud of you for tackling this yourself.”

Tonight I chose to buy some yummy yarny fiber goodness – seriously pretty handmade hand dyed fiber batts – from an acquaintance needing money to cover moving expenses. Was it the BEST use of my money? Maybe not, but I felt good to help when she asked. I sent along a kind note with my purchase, hoping the words were as helpful as the cash money.

Most important, I am kind to Alex. I make a point NOW of saying, “Buddy, thank you for helping me with the floor.” or “Bear, I love when you sit with me while I work.” or “Alex, I know you don’t like me saying no, I know it’s hard, and I’m sorry, but you HAVE TO GO TO BED FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.”

So. Kindness. The new Black.

Kindness also looks great in firelight.