Day 144: The Gift of Kindness
“Kindness is the greatest gift we can give to one another.” -Tom’s Shoes
Being kind to ourselves and to others is free, and it is also a choice. Everyday and every moment, we can choose to be kind, but in order to really be open to receive kindness, we must first believe we are worthy of receiving kindness. Once we believe and know we are worth it, love and kindness will flow from within and will no longer need to be a choice, it will just be.
I wish everyone the ability to see their worth and to spread that self-love through an abundance of kindness.
With Love and Kindness,
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Davor Fanton
Day 143: A Table of Kindness
I received a wonderful compliment from the mother of one of my yoga students. She shared with me how her daughter loved that it wasn’t just a yoga class, but more, that it was a place where she could share and “talk about stuff.” The mother also shared that whatever we spoke about in class, later turned into a family discussion at the dinner table.
(At the beginning of every class, I gather my students in a circle and we share. Each student receives a turn while everyone else gives their full attention. Sometimes I have a preset theme or subject and other times I simply check in and asked how they are each feeling.)
The compliment got me thinking about two things. One, that I could do the same thing every night at my dinner table with my family, and two, how amazing it is that a circle of sharing at a yoga class could then influence and affect an entire family. It is rare, especially as we get older, that there is a place to go and check in to share our feelings. Perhaps all families, all classes, and all work environments should start the day with circle time or end the day at a table where kind listening and sharing take place in a loving and supportive way.
Start your own table or circle of kindness. Try doing it every morning to start the day or at the end of the day around the dinner table. You might just be surprised at what comes out of your children. And if you do not have children, try it with your partner or roommates.
With Love and Kindness,
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Space Cadett
Day 136: Loving Kindness
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde
Happy Easter! Whether you celebrate the day or not, it coincides with Spring and other religious holidays which all have a common thread, and that is new beginnings. How does the subject of new beginnings relate to loving oneself? Think of Spring for a moment and what is actually taking place. Spring is a time of expansion, growth, beauty, novelty, and bravery. If you picture a flower or any plant during spring, it is opening to the sun and warmth and at the same time beneath the surface it is growing stronger roots. Opening up and growing takes a great amount of trust and bravery and that is where I find the connection between new beginnings and loving oneself. In order to make any changes in oneself, and to start a new journey, takes a great amount of self-love and self-trust. We alone are the only one inside of ourselves, so we might as well learn to be totally, madly in love with who and what are. Be brave, be bold, but most of all be self-loving.
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Hervé de Brabandère
Day 135: Kindly Try Something New:
“If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you never done.”
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Don’t be afraid of change, because it is leading you to a new beginning.” – Joyce Meyers
When you try something for the first time such as a new sport, cooking a new recipe, starting a new job or taking up a new hobby, do you encourage yourself to try and keep at it, or do you expect to already be an expert and belittle yourself if you fall short of your imagined high standards and expectations? If you fall in to the latter group it might be time to learn how to kindly treat yourself when you try something new. Learn to laugh at yourself and find humor in your mistakes. Remember life can be fun and doesn’t have to be so serious. It is also important to encourage yourself just as you would a young child. When we experiment and dare to try something new, it is not only brave, but the exact thing that makes life fun and interesting.
Remember to encourage yourself, and nurture your new beginnings through kind self talk and lots of humor.
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Luiz Baltar
Day 132: Toolbox of Kindness
“Self -compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” – Christopher Germer
When life brings you a challenge that feels daunting, insurmountable, and down right scary, what do you do? In lieu of hiding and saying to your higher power how unfair it all is, what tools do you have that help you?
Over the years I have acquired, crafted, and nurtured a collection of tools that have helped and served me well through the toughest challenges. I have used therapy, meditation and yoga, family and friends, support groups, a plethora of self-help books, and most recently added positive affirmations to the toolbox. Each new tool requires discipline, dedication and maybe a bit of humility. Admitting that we need help and asking for it also requires self-acceptance and forgiveness. Our lives are not perfect and never will be. We will have moments that are the happiest and moments that are nothing short of tragic, that is life. Having a toolbox of kindness for ourselves is not only going to get us through the toughest of times, but it will also enhance our lives during the calm waters of life.
No matter what, there is always plenty of help and assistance available, look and ask, and you will find what you need.
With Love and Kindness,
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Grant Yiu
Day 112: Kind Beliefs
“A moment of self-compassion can change your day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.” – Christopher K. Germer
We have all heard a version of “you get what you give.” Whatever energy, kindness, quality and time we give, we will receive in return. It is also true when applied to the self. What we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us. If we think negative thoughts and those thoughts turn into our beliefs, we will see ourselves as unworthy, not attractive, not something enough. If we think positive thoughts and create beliefs which are loving, supportive and kind, we will be loving, accepting and kind. We will thrive as the beautiful, perfect and magnificent creatures that we were meant to be.
We must look within and learn to love every part of who we are and what we do. We must also love what we see on the outside. We need to learn to love and accept our bodies, our ears, our noses, even our toes or whatever parts are difficult to love. We need to learn to approve and accept rather than criticize and wish we were different somehow. Everyday and all day long, repeat: “I love and approve of myself.” Especially in front of a mirror, but also when we have a pause in thought. The goal is to say it as many times a day as we can until we believe it through and through. Not only does it force us to be in the present moment and to accept ourselves as we are, but it also becomes difficult to self criticize if we are loving and accepting of ourselves.
Once we have figured out how to be self-loving, self-kind, self-accepting, we will be experts at being loving, kind and accepting of all others, all strangers, and all creatures that make up this beautiful world.
With Love and Kindness,
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Beth McDonald
Day 95: Beautiful Kindness
“The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.” – Francis Bacon
Is it possible to find beauty in everything we do? Can we find the beauty in all people, all beings, all things and all situations? Absolutely! However, we must first find the beauty within. We need to fall in love with ourselves, approve of every part of ourselves; perceived flaws, mistakes, regrets and every fiber of our being and history. In order to do this, we have to change the way we see ourselves and be full of never-ending forgiveness. We are human, imperfect, but loving, kind, incredible and magnificent. We are beauty. We are beautiful and imperfectly perfect beings.
Today, try to find the beauty inside of you. Try to view yourself as a small baby that has just been born. If you are a parent, this visualization will be easy. Remember how every part of your baby is perfection: the skin, the eyes, the toes and fingers. Try to think of yourself as this perfect child, happy, warm, cared for and loved. Carry yourself out into the world knowing that you are taken care of, loved, and cherished. Believe and know that there is and endless supply of love, kindness, and beauty from within. If you can feel this remember it, and practice it, then beauty will be found everywhere and with every person.
Be kind, find the beauty, and love openly and freely.
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Michael Goins
Day 92: Kind Approval
“Be kind to yourself. Begin to love and approve of yourself. That’s what you need in order to express yourself at your highest potential.” – Louise Hay
Being kind, having personal approval and love are all things that I am striving for. Yes, I can say to someone that I love myself, approve of all that I am and doing, and that I am always kind to myself. Ah, but I would not being telling the truth. There are a few things that tend to get in the way. That damn critic in my head that berates me and tells me all sorts of unkind messages. There is also that ever present guy called fear that likes to tell me I can’t. I suspect that I am not the only one who struggles with the critic and the fear. So, how do we quiet these voices, turn them off or release them from our thought patterns? I think the first step is acknowledging the voices, the second step is sitting with the voices and understanding where they come from. The third step is realizing that they are just thoughts and thoughts can be changed and replaced with different thoughts and patterns. The fourth step is practicing the new thoughts with patience and kindness.
Can you imagine a world where everyone loved themselves fully, flaws, broken pieces, mistakes and all? Maybe self approval and self love are achieved or realized through forgiveness and understanding. If we can quiet those voices and forgive ourselves fully for our perceived flaws then love and approval will come naturally. At least that’s what I’m hoping and striving for. I’ll let you know how it works out, or you can keep reading. 🙂
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Torli Roberts
Day 91: Kind Acts of Love
“The great acts of love are done buy those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.” – Victor Hugo
Great love and kindness go hand in hand. I believe just as kindness must begin within, so must love. Love must come from within ourselves before it can truly be given or received. We can hope and want love from someone or something else, but if we cannot create that inner self love and truly believe that we are loving and lovable, we will search for it until the day we die. My journey to find, create, and live kindness has brought me to a place where I must look within myself for the kindness and love that I feel my life has been lacking. I habitually look out for acceptance, love, validation and kindness, instead of realizing that all of the kindness I want to see in the world is in my hands. As Gandhi so poignantly stated: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That is where I am, on day 91 of 365 days of kindness. I know that love and kindness are ultimately the same thing and that in order to have love and kindness in my life, I must wholeheartedly love myself. And from that love, kindness will pour out of me and I will see, experience and live loving kindness.
The kindest thing we can do for ourselves, others, strangers, the world and our planet, is to love ourselves.
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/Jesper Markward Olsen