What does kindness mean to you? Sometimes people grow up in an atmosphere where there is little kindness, and it can seem like a foreign concept. Was that true for you? Would you be willing to learn more about kindness and make it part of your everyday life? It may be easier than you’ve ever imagined, and it’s not self indulgence! Being kind to ourselves is actually being kind to the world. Kindness creates an expansive energy that allows for more joy, more possibilities and more ease. Kindness can show up in many ways, but it always has an energy of ease, of gifting to another and of generosity of spirit. What would your life be like if you were kind to yourself every day?
Here are some tips for creating more kindness in your life:
If kindness has not been very present in your life, begin by noticing when others are being kind. Perhaps a mother is soothing and gifting to her child, or someone is playing with and showing affection to their dog. Notice the energy. Is it something your would like more of in your life? You might ask questions like: Am I open to receiving this kind of energy?, or Where have I been kind or received kindness that I haven’t acknowledged? The trick here is to not judge yourself! If you have not experienced much kindness, it may take awhile to
Being kind to you is making a commitment to not judge yourself or your body. Judgment is always destructive and contractive. Judgment is also arbitrary. There is no truth in it; it’s just someone else’s point of view. What would your life be like if you didn’t judge yourself? You can practice by giving yourself a judgment free day or even a judgment free hour. When you find yourself judging yourself just say: “I’m sorry judgment, this is a judgment free day. You can come back tomorrow.” What might that create?
If someone is judging you, remember that people only accuse you of what they are doing. It’s never about you! How does it get any better than that?
Consider letting go of all standards. Standards are also arbitrary. What happens if you have a standard of “being nice to everyone”? Could that allow others to treat you like a doormat? Being kind to ourselves includes not allowing ourselves to be abused by others. It’s about honoring ourselves in every situation.
Be willing to know what you know even if everyone else disagrees with you. We’ve all been under pressure to ignore what we know to be true in favor of what others tell us about who we are, what we can and cannot do, what we should believe in, how we should act etc. What might change if you were willing to honor you by honoring your knowing? Could this allow the unique gift you be to be more present in the world? Being the different that you are, is not only kind to you, it’s a gift to the world!
What if you had gratitude for yourself and your body? Gratitude is about noticing and acknowledging what’s right about you and your body rather than what you’ve decided is wrong. Gratitude is always a contribution to kindness. You might try starting each day by acknowledging five things you are grateful for in your life and five things you are grateful for about yourself and your body. Notice if that creates a different energy for our day.
Most of us have long “to do” lists. We take our lists and make ourselves do as many of the items as we can in one day. Does that seem kind to you? What if, instead of a “to do” list you asked questions? Some helpful ones are: “Where can I put my energy now that will create the greatest possibilities? Who am I today and what grand and glorious adventures shall I have? What’s actually required today? What can I be or do to make _______fun to do? What’s possible today that’s beyond anything I’ve ever imagined? Asking questions allows us to become aware of and follow the energy. The odd thing is, this actually allows more to get done than following the “to do” lists!
Being kind to ourselves is also about the willingness to be aware of what is, rather than what we would like someone or something to be. It is certainly tempting to fantasize or to pretend that something, like a relationship or a job, is far better or more satisfying than it is. What if, by acknowledging what actually is, you free yourself to move onto something far greater and more expansive than your current situation? That is one way to be kind to you and your future!
Often doing things like our taxes or cleaning the house or taking care of car problems is actually a way of being kind to ourselves. Even though the task may not be the most enjoyable one of the day, consider focusing on the ease or beauty or sense of peace it will create for you.
Being kind is also about noticing the people and surroundings of our lives. Who among friends and family are kind to you? Who has your back? Who has gratitude for you and is willing to honor you and your choices? Is the place you live nourishing and supportive of you? Is your work something that you look forward to? By asking these kinds of questions all of us can begin to get clearer on what is working for us and what isn’t. This is the first step in being able to make changes that truly honor us. Yes, you may need to limit your contact with certain people or to let them go. But by doing this, you are telling the universe that you would like more kind people in your life. If you find your job or home is not a good fit for you, than you can begin to look for something that is. None of us is obligated to stay in situations that don’t honor us. A couple useful questions to ask are: Is this person or situation or job or home a contribution to my life? Is keeping this person or job or home in my life being kind to me?
For so many of us, choosing to be kind to us is something very new. Would you be willing to begin? It’s a muscle you can build over time. How might your life change if you made a commitment to be kind to you?