Letters on the Skill of Kindness: #1

Hi, Rob. Thank you for reading this. It means a lot to me that you’re giving this letter your attention.

I’m writing this because you realised something recently, after years of downplaying your talents and marinating yourself in shame over the smallest things: You need help being kind to yourself.

You read that article that Shola Richards wrote, about happiness being a skill? Well, I reckon kindness is, too. It’s one that needs not just practice but review. The thing is that sometimes, you can’t get this review from anywhere. For some folks, all the outside reassurance in the world just doesn’t work. No matter what anyone else may say, only you know the dark interiors of your own skull.

Which means that, sometimes, you just have to hear the good stuff from the one voice you can’t ignore, doubt or mistrust. The problem there is just hearing that voice over all the noise.

Hence this letter, and probably a few more to come.

Let me start with the obvious. You’re afraid. The good news is, that’s okay. Who wouldn’t be when they’re starting something new, doubly so when it involves trying to be candid and honest with a body of people, most of whom you don’t know? Opening yourself up to people is one of the most scary things in the world.

I’m not telling you anything new here. You wrote about it a while back – remember that opening a vein / spilling your guts post?

The other reassuring thing here is that means you’re not likely to be just writing to no one. For a start, as I wrote above, everyone gets scared and everyone had a hard time deadlin with it sometme. What you write can’t help but strike a chord with someone, somewhere.

That might seem sad, but whomever said “misery loves company” only got it half right – or, at least, he or she forgot to say afterward, “two heads are better than one.” Knowing you’re not the only one out there with a particular trouble means someone else has experienced similar and figured out how to come out the other side of it with mind body and soul intact.

But even if you connect with no one at first, you’re still writing for you. Here’s some news you probably don’t believe: You deserve kindness, and there are few better to give it to you than yourself. Grant yourself permission to do your thing, even if you’re not sure what it is yet. No one else will do it for you and no one knows how to do it your way like you.

So, my oldest friend, let’s start small, huh? Just you and me. The good news is that right now, for this, it’s all you need.

The better news is that it’s not just you and me. You’ve got people in your corner. Ask them for help when you need it; even if their advice doesn’t work, the fact that they’re willing to give it to you says that they reckon you’re worth helping.

I know you don’t want to burden them, especially, Vickie. And I know you’ve told yourself lots that you give her enough stuff to worry about. It’s okay. Take your time. Relax. Be aware when she’s trying to share something with you.

Yeah, yeah, I know; this is me telling you things when you’ve enough trouble with people telling you what to do. See? Even I’m still trying to work stuff out. But we’ll keep at it and learn together right? Next time, fewer suggestions and more questions.

But one last thing I want to tell you to do: Keep being kind to yourself, Rob.

I’m here for you.

All my love,


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