Kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
Kindness was an essential component of the healing journey I took to cure endometriosis. I had to learn the art of generosity and consideration. I had to befriend myself and become my protector and ally. Many areas of my life were affected by the disease. Relationships, friendships, social life, career, exercise routines, holidays, and finances were all touched by the disease. Endometriosis did not discriminate. It impacted my mood, motivation, self-perception, confidence, intimate life, and fertility.
There was one concept that I did not grasp for many years; that I had to navigate life differently to those free from chronic ill health. My goals for career, family, socialising, and finances were similar to my peers, and yet I had a condition that diminished my capacity to partake in life. It’s only now that I acknowledge the impact of the disease on my body and mind. It’s only recently that I understood that a stalling career, a desire to shut out the world, and an inability to carry a child, were not a reflection of me. They were a consequence of the disease.
Now I see that I was trying to live by the rules of mainstream society. Comparing myself to others and questioning if I was doing enough and being enough. As an act of self-preservation, I now realise I would have benefitted from ignoring the standards set by a western culture that dictates life should look a certain way. I had a different path to walk where I learned that kindness to oneself is an essential companion when chronic illness appears.
Western society is predominantly patriarchal and promotes hierarchy, competition, individualism, unrelenting action, and achievement. It prioritises intellectualism and the mind. The feminine qualities of unity, acceptance, flow, surrender, nurture, emotion, and embodiment have been somewhat abandoned. Within society and each person, there are masculine and feminine energies. Neither is good or bad. There is a need for both; naturally, each one of us will have a stronger resonance with one than the other.
I found meeting the impossible external demands in this age of patriarchy and perfectionism was not an option. I started to ask “Do I need to embrace feminine energy or, do I need to call in the qualities of masculine energy?” As I grew kinder to myself I began to embrace both, at the right time and in the right quantity. I began to accept where I was in any given moment, to feel into my body and ask “What do I need right now?”. I took action to support myself and my specific needs. I set achievable goals and then began to surrender into the flow of daily life, doing the best I could when I could.
Life felt messy and non-linear. I had to take it at a slower pace, and I needed faith to block out the world and stick to my course. Yet this helped me follow my own path of healing and restoration.
So be kind to yourself. Whether you’re a cis woman, a transgender man, or a non-binary person with endometriosis; go at your own pace, in your own way, in your own time.
Wild Love, Sally X