The True Sense of Kindness

I never really understood the true sense of what kindness was. I knew what kindness meant, the way to give and receive kindness. I just always thought I was kind and people where kind back to me.

Ever since I was young, I have always been an empathetic person. Kindness and empathy seemed to go hand in hand. Back then, and even still today, I feel kindness is also genuine common courtesy.

In my early teens it was like a switch I already had built-in switched on. I crossed a line and found myself becoming a people pleaser. I was blissfully unaware that developing within me was a need I had for people to like me, keep them liking me and think I was worthy. I subconsciously wanted to measure up to my preconceived idea of how I should be. I had way too many thoughts in my head that I could never find answers to or reason with, which created an unsettled mind. I was overly concerned with what people thought of me.

This subconscious, and sometimes conscious, behavior to myself become very unkind. I was hard on myself and filled with self-loathing. I spent years grappling with this in my own headspace. With no sight of seeing another view of myself, I developed an eating disorder. My mind would rant on at me and be so unkind and unfair. At this stage, my behavior changed. I became constantly unkind to myself; I gave myself little to no respect or common courtesy. I was inwardly hard and hostile which led me to become angry and resentful. There was a festering within my mind of no self-worth, no self-regard and a genuine dislike for myself.

On being admitted to a clinic for Anorexia Nervosa, I started to look deep within myself. This allowed me to see glimpses of how unkind and unforgiving I was to myself. During my stay I did a lot of soul searching and analysis of my feelings and thoughts. This also led me to discover the way I was behaving and develop a genuine purpose for myself. My focus was to reconnect and rebuild the relationship with myself, which started with being kind. Becoming kind to myself did not come easy; however, I recognized that I needed to do this to succeed in my path to recovery. For many years I worked on this. I often had to stop and remind myself to be kind; until I was at a stage where I could be at peace with being kind to myself. The stage in my recovery where I believed I was worthy of this kindness was the turning point where I started to allow myself to be kinder. The true sense of allowing it made me able to receive it. It has been 23 years since I was at the clinic and recovered from my eating disorder. The path to recovery has taught me many things – kindness and acceptance remain the key points.

Once I had managed to accept self-kindness, I was able to acknowledge how to be kind to others. I came to believe that to be truly kind to others you first need to be truly kind to yourself.

Heidi Fabian Lee
Heidi Fabian-Lee is a mental health advocate, helping people understand, recognize and walk their mind's map with worthiness, peace and purpose. She has a true personal understanding of what it means to be kind to yourself with mental well-being. After overcoming her own eating disorder 23 years ago, she knows first hand what it's like to work through a mental disorder. From her own experience and recovery, Heidi is passionate to assist and shed her light on eating disorders and mental illness. She is hearing a calling to work with people on a holistic level of connecting with oneself to understand and navigate the mind through relatable connections of self-worth, kindness and self-understanding. As an artist, Heidi has always believed art can help show us our way and guide, even enlighten our path. She can often be found cooking, creating teas in her apothecary, feeding the birds, tinkering in her garden, rescuing plants, laughing with her cat and enjoying life with her 3 beautiful children.

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