When you look up the word benign, you’ll find that the adjective describes having a gentle and kind disposition; a mild character that does not threaten life or health; or having no significant impact. For most including myself, benign represents a clean bill of health from the dreaded “c” word. A sigh of relief that life, as I know it, is moving right along in its previously scheduled format. Until today, I would have been hard-pressed to refer to myself as benign in any way, but I’m adding the word to my vocabulary starting now. With the results of the mammogram sitting next to me, I see the chance to grow in a new direction, to take on qualities that already exist inside of me, I just didn’t realize I was interested in possessing like gentleness and lovingkindness.
I’ve spent the greater part of my life identifying with words and phrases like tough cookie, bold, smart mouth, independent, ringleader, blatant, powerful, sensitive, goofball, straight shooter, and truth teller. A person who speaks before she thinks, struggles to open up, acts impulsively and often regrets it. It’s not that I don’t really think of myself as loving or kind, but I just never gave them much priority in the development of my personality. My ego thinks kindness is for sissies. Apparently, my ego is a bully. Sound like anyone you know?
Modern-day society is filled with countless examples of rewarding the strong while disempowering the weak. The wealthier you are, the easier it is to buy yourself out of any situation. The better looking you are, the better off you are. People exaggerate in order to climb the corporate ladder, kiss the brass ring, find their fifteen minutes of fame. The drug of choice for most people has become the pursuit of the Hollywood fairytale, as if any of it will equal happiness. It doesn’t. Somewhere deep inside, you know it’s not true, but it feels so good to believe in the myth of yourself and what you think you are or could be if only you were given or achieved FILL IN THE BLANK.
I’m no exception. I’ve lived my life believing on some small, conscious level that I would be more lovable if I achieved more. This idea of always having to take action in order to receive anything has really been a way of holding myself back. Needless to say, all of this internal bullying has done a number on my ability to really perceive myself. So instead of looking for ways to outwardly take action, I’m looking within to radiate an expression of something softer, kinder and a little bit closer to me than I’ve been before.
When you don’t label a trap a trap, then it’s no longer a trap. It’s an opening. I choose to say yes to the softer side of me. This doesn’t mean I won’t speak up for myself, but I may hear the other side of the conversation a little more clearly. I feel freer already.