At my church, there are donation bins for the local food pantry that we are invited to contribute to each week, but I’ve hardly ever done it.
Over the years, I've made up different reasons to justify my lack of participation -- it isn't my "thing," I don't want to spend the extra money, I help in other ways, etc. -- but underneath that have felt guilty and judged myself for being stingy. This week I realized that I've had a hidden belief operating that not donating to things like this makes me a bad, greedy person.
This belief -- and the guilt and self-judgment associated with it -- has been so unpleasant that, for years, it has made me want to avoid thinking about food drives altogether. Which has led me to avoid donating, leading to even more guilt and avoidance, and creating a self-perpetuating loop.
Seeing it clearly now, the belief is ridiculous and no longer holds sway: How could my standing as a decent human being possibly come down to this one behavior? But when it was unseen and unexamined, just running on auto-pilot in the background, it was powerful.
Ever since recognizing what was going on, I've been much kinder and more charitable toward myself around food drives, and have been enjoying the possibility that I could actually find a way to participate that feels good. To donate not because I think I *should* donate -- thus making it all about me -- but to donate from that place of generosity and goodwill toward my fellow human beings that is inherently satisfying.
It's funny to me -- although perhaps not surprising -- that even though my whole business is about helping people practice authentic kindness, there was this huge blind spot in my own life that kept me from doing that. It just goes to show that I'm human, I suppose. I'm confident that most of you can relate. :)
Do you have any of your own stories about uncovering hidden beliefs or blind spots? If so, I'd love to hear them.
In the meantime, I'll be at the grocery store stocking up on extra pasta sauce and peanut butter.