Kindness towards others should be second only to Self-Kindness.
Acts of kindness directly impact our wellness and once we are kind to ourselves other acts of kindness follow.
An honest approach toward facing our fears can be one of our highest acts of self-kindness. What other actions define kindness for you? One way I’ve experimented is through cultivating the art of boredom as an act of self-kindness because I don’t usually allow myself time to “be lazy” or JUST BE. Freedom is kindness. To sit in a chair or lay on the ground and daydream, watch the birds, observe the world as it “passes by”! During this time of COVID, I’ve allowed myself space and time to cultivate this with less guilt. Non-Judgement is Kindness. The world is not really passing, I’m just playing the observer role, which removes me from having to judge, think, solve problems, or change anything…I get to be and that is one of the greatest acts of self-kindness we can gift ourselves, especially right now. When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.- Dalai Lama
Many a movie and catchphrase have been coined around the idea that Kindness counts, but especially lately, I think we are jaded and might consider these phrases cliche-which of course they are-while they also remain true. I’ve been thinking a lot about what kindness and happiness mean and how they are different from culture to culture.
For some cynics, the pursuit of happiness or random acts of kindness don’t really mean anything or make a big difference to the world. I would argue that the butterfly effect* of our actions ripples out from one person to an unknown degree. Our definitions of kindness don’t have to be in lockstep for us to agree that kindness counts.
I love how writer Savala Trepczysnki (she/her) invites us to create what she calls a ‘dignity practice‘, which she describes as a process of setting boundaries around certain behaviors or actions as a way of honoring ourselves and our boundaries. Boundaries are kindness. This practice is a courageous act of self-kindness, one we should not take lightly or sugar coat!
Kindness can sometimes be a hard choice to make! But never forget, it is always our choice to be kind.
Haven’t you ever had a really crappy day and someone just gave you the most genuine smile, held a door for you, or gave you a small compliment that really changed your attitude for a moment or even for the rest of the day?
We have all experienced the power of kindness to uplift, make us feel calmer, less anxious, happier, and more loving.
I hope you will consider how you can cultivate kind actions to uplift your wellness and that of others.
What is one of your latest random acts of kindness?
*I’m endlessly coming across chaos theory and wonder if this has something to do with my need to find order in the chaos of the world.