It was mental health awareness week a few weeks ago and the focus was on kindness and it's into this that I going to speak. There are different kinds of kindness and I am going to share a few of these with you.
1 - Kindness to self, I am starting with this one because kindness to self is where it all starts. You need to fill yourself up with kindness so that it can overflow onto others. It is possible for you to be kind to others without being kind to yourself but this will leave you feelings depleted and can in some instances leave you feeling resentful. I have a very good friend who is incredibly kind and thoughtful. She always goes out of her way for others. However because she is not kind to herself she often feels as if her kindness is not appreciated. The most wonderful way to be kind is to be able to give kindness away without any expectation of it being returned and the only way to do this and remain whole is to be kind to yourself first.
The challenge is that critical thought in your head. The thoughts telling you that you’re not good enough, that you haven't achieved enough, that you just aren't enough. The judgment that constant berating, picking and bullying of yourself that you can’t get away from. I know I've got one of those in my head too but I have learnt to live with it and to realise that it is not the truth. It is just a programming of my subconscious mind from my parents, society and my educators.
You can't stop these thoughts especially initially but what you can do is refocus them. When you catch yourself thinking that you aren't good enough, that your body isn't the way you want it, that you haven't achieved enough, or that there's something you're not doing that you think you should be doing - instead of getting cross with yourself for thinking the thoughts which is compounding the problem, you can try and refocus and look at the things that you like about yourself. Decide to look for what you're proud of, what you're happy about and what you like about yourself. The way our thoughts work the more you choose to focus on the positives in your life in time you will find you will naturally start to do this without having to remember to do so.
The more you are kind to yourself the more you come from a beautiful space, a kind space and the more kindness and love you have to give others.
2 - The next focus I'd like to look at is kindness to those that we care about. Those that we love, our friends and our family. Quite often in our relationships with others we can look at what we want to get from those relationships. Such as wanting to be accepted, to belong, to be admired, esteemed, to be made happy, or joyful, help us have fun, to love us, or to care about us.
It takes a different mindset to start asking what can we give to them. So when we focus on being kind maybe we can focus on how we can be kind to those that we love and that we care about and the nearest and dearest to us. It might just be a message or a phone call you don’t even have to say very much. You might just say i’m thinking of you, you're in my thoughts or share a memory and just say this popped into my head didn't we have a lovely time together.
If you want to really show someone you care the greatest gift you can give somebody is understanding. When you’re coming from a space of what you can get from somebody else you are focused on yourself and your own internal dialogue and needs. When you start shifting that and looking at what you can give someone else you start to connect with people and start to really deeply listen to them and enter into a dialogue with them from curiosity. Where the curiosity is to understand the person that you are with and interacting with and that is a huge gift. It costs nothing but your focus and your time. Very few of us have ever been truly seen and deeply understood and it's an incredibly beautiful gift to be able to give somebody.
3 - The next focus that I want to look at is focusing on others. Focusing kindness on people that you don't know.
When I lived in Botswana I decided to do this little experiment - for a week while I was out driving I decided to let everyone that I could in, in front of me. At every T-junction, cross roads or if I was on a dual carriage way and someone wanted to pull in I would let them in. I did this with no with no resentment, just an open hearted feeling of being kind to those people around me. What happened was quite unexpected because in Botswana (and I don't mean this in a critical way) people don't generally tend to be that courteous when you're driving. It can be every man for himself quite often, but what I noticed over the week of me letting people in was that more people seemed to let me in. The more kind I was the more kindness I saw in others. There is no way that the people I’d let in knew and remembered me to be able to let me in when they saw me again. It was more than that that, it was bigger than that. In my excitement over my discovery I shared what had happened with a friend. She then went out and did exactly the same and excitedly came back to me and shared that she had experienced the same thing.
There are so many ways to be kind you don’t just have to let people in when you are driving. I sometimes buy an extra coffee, tea or hot chocolate if I am out and ask the teller to give it away to the next person who asks for one. The more you look for ways to be kind the more you will find.
Something else that I want to share with you as we explore kindness (and I am certainly not perfect and I don't always remember to think this way) is to try to approach people with the belief that everybody is coming from a good place. That everyone is doing the best that they possibly can in the situation that they're in, with the knowledge and the experiences that they have. When I am able to come from this space I find that I am able to be so much more kind to people. Even if they're angry, upset, hurt or cross. If I choose (and it's a choice it's not something that you necessarily are born with) to see people as all doing the best that they can then when they show up as angry or upset I am able to see past this and to see that the real truth of what the person is going through. Who we all are is just the conditioning and the behaviours that we've learned to deal with things that cause us pain. If we are able to look at people and see beyond these constructs these programs and beliefs (beliefs and constructs that we have all created in our lives) and choose to see the truth of people. Then our ability to be kind to people whoever they are in whatever circumstances they are in is so much greater.
I am a Consciousness Coach and I help people navigate the shift from automated survival to self awareness both as individuals and as businesses. If you would like to explore working with me send me an email and we can arrange a free chemistry call. I also have lots of other resources on my website which I have added in the first comments below.
So much love from me to you xx