It’s Good to Be Kind

heartIn a previous post, I shared the pregnancy scare I experienced when I was almost 29 weeks pregnant with my first son. As I finished the post, a quote came to mind. It certainly took on new meaning as I recalled my scare.  

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  ~Elizabeth Stone~

So. True.

Example: I want people to be kind to my child. My now 21-month-old had his first experience on an airplane when he was six months of age. While steadily slobbering on his shirt (he did a lot of slobbering back in the day!), he excitedly interacted with the other passengers. Encouraged by all the attention, he smiled at and tried to get the attention of a man who stood with his back turned against him.

Though the scenario was kind of funny, my heart ached. The man wasn’t even trying to ignore my son, but I was ready to yank his (quite substantial) flesh around and make him coo at my son. Though the experience was a first for me, I still feel the same way when people don’t react to my son the way they should. (show some DELIGHT, people!)

As I thought about the quote and the airplane experience, I realized I felt similarly about my writing. In fact, the aforementioned quote—at least from my point of view—could easily be modified:

“Making the decision to share your writing is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

Deciding to write is momentous. But deciding to share your writing? Oh, boy.

Now, I’m sure some writers have steel hearts that deflect criticism of their work. Not I. When other writers speak of their novel as “their baby,” I totally get it.

When my first novel is published (positive thinking!) I want people to be kind to it. I am hard on it enough—in fact, much harder than I am on my flesh-and-blood child. In a way, my writing is an even more undiluted extension of me than my literal offspring. And I am fiercely hard on myself, so why not on the words I birth?

The grand message I wish to give with this post? I don’t know…be nice (but honest) in your Amazon and Goodreads reviews? After all, a real person wrote the book you hold in your hand and put part of him- or herself in it.

Then again, many of us expose our hearts in ways that have nothing to do with children or writing. Are we kind to each other’s exposed hearts? Before we give each other reviews (and don’t we all do so subconsciously, whether we should or not?), are we generous in our judgment?

I’m not suggesting we become blind to each other’s faults. But maybe—just maybe—we can be less critical of each other. Maybe we can look for the good and not jump to the worst conclusions. Maybe we can see each other’s potential and encourage each other to reach it.

It’s good to be kind. Even to yourself.

Side note: For an excellent post on being kind to yourself, visit my friend Erica’s blog

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