I was speaking with a client the other day who gave me permission to share our conversation. She was recounting an experience of becoming angry because she noticed a large number of invasive species trees and shared that she found herself agitated and speaking emotionally about it while a passenger on a drive. Actually, getting quite worked up.
Well, long story short, the anger was at the people who planted the trees and the frustration that the trees were doing harm to other vegetation.
The idea of tenderness came up because employing the concept helped settle the emotions down and brought a realization around how bad it felt to get so worked up.
Often when emotions get high and are negative in some way, it feels terrible, but we are so busy emoting we miss that we are creating our own suffering.
We had fun with this conversation because the idea of tenderness also led to the idea of compassion. Those poor trees- they were simply planted and didn’t deserve all that negativity.
Who knows? Maybe they actually were the perfect plant to be living in that area. Some years from now, given global warming, they may bring something absolutely necessary to the changing ecosystem.
The people who were being maligned because they planted them… they are actually not part of the car ride equation. But… self-compassion is part of the equation; tenderness to self… especially when it becomes clear that the only person suffering is the person feeling all the negative emotions and, in this case, possibly the driver.
We took it further. What is the difference between expressing irritation, anger, rage out into the world and expressing neutrality, kindness, compassion, or tenderness?
Do we want to feed the negativity and blame, that has become pervasive in large expressions of frustration and anger in our society, or do we want to grow ease, care, compassion?
What if we all tried a little tenderness?
Click here for a different kind of car ride – enjoy!