The power of love and kindness

Opinion: Columns

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Melissa Ford

Coach - Personal & Business

Ask yourself this question: If you have a tombstone, what would you like written on it? Answer it right from the gut. No ruminating, cogitating or contemplating. No looking for the right answer; simply tell yourself your truth as it stands right now.

Recently, I considered this unusual question, and as the answer bubbled up — I was surprised.

Love and kindness are powerful.

Wow! Wherever did I come up with that magnificent piece of wisdom? Parenting.

Before children, I thought being in control, appearing smart and managing my life and those around me equated to power. I believed getting what I wanted showed strength and determination. Then I had children and discovered that trying to control, being right, or attempting to manipulate to get what I wanted were the wrong kinds of power.

Wielding this pseudo-power frequently backfired, reaping limited results and leaving me feeling incompetent and insecure. With trial and error as my teacher, I found a happy middle ground where I still guided, advised and opined, yet I learned a vital lesson: if I truly wanted to make a difference — in other words, to be powerful — love and kindness delivered every time.

And the first place to start? With myself.

Can you think of a better substitute for self-judgment than self-love and personal kindness, especially when entertaining questions such as, Am I a good parent? Do others approve? Am I doing it right? My answers never produced positive results as I swung from wild parenting successes one day to public failures the next. Or when my emotions ran the gamut — deeply in love with my teen or toddler one minute and feeling disrespected or frustrated the next.

During those trying times, I experimented, letting go of self-judgment by filling myself with loving kindness, acknowledging my efforts and good intentions, knowing how much I cared and wanted the best for my kids.

I learned to let love and kindness rule.

Over the last month, my father suffered a series of strokes, leaving him unable to talk or swallow, paralyzing his right side. Upon hearing the news, I immediately reacted, feeling scared and upset, wondering what I could do. Then I remembered the power of loving kindness and immediately, my thoughts shifted. How can I help? What would support him? How could I respond in a caring way?

Choosing love and kindness, I went into action, printing out pictures of his beloved canines, believing these furry friends might produce a smile, a lopsided grin, and offer a glimmer of hope. They did.

Choosing love and kindness, I held his hand, staring lovingly into his eyes, expressing my heartfelt emotions without words, hoping he would feel the depth of my gratitude and love. He did.

Choosing love and kindness is generosity of spirit, which works equally well for ourselves, our children, our loved ones, even a stranger. It is a powerful way to make a real difference.


Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad