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Chocolate is bad for kidney patients because of its oxylates. Spent the whole afternoon at the kidney care clinic. On the way home did something I haven’t done for several years–bought a couple of chocolate bars and ate them. Yum.

But what is that all about? Is this the story of the rebellious teenager who lives in us forever? Sometimes it’s easier to do what we know is good for us; other times the inner contrarian is in charge. On the whole, I like my inner rebel who can expand the debate and story. As societies and as individuals, we need an occasional contrarian view. In opposites, there is tension, movement, dynamism, growth, and every good story needs those elements.

Yet I don’t like to see my personal narrative hijacked by my natural stubbornness. I’m left with little choice but to see, laugh, and forgive the chocolate journey into silliness. Reading has helped me be kinder to myself. When we read a novel about a character experiencing the typical travails of a life, we identify and develop compassion for the protagonist. (Well, usually.) We are each the protagonists in our own novels.

According to some sources, reading develops empathy. That needs to start with ourselves, seeing and forgiving our childish, rebellious, silly, annoying or struggling bits. Let’s hope compassion moves out from there.