Are You Kind....To You?
What is the purpose of kindness?
Kindness is being friendly, generous, and considerate. Affection, gentleness, warmth... I have always considered myself a kind person but I would always consider kindness in relation to others, very seldom myself.
I see acts of kindness as the tangible action reflecting love - true kindness always comes from a place of love and love is everything - the reason we are alive!
Acts of kindness are beautiful... they are also a great tool for creating harmony in society, communities and families. It exists as heartfelt words of encouragement, thoughtful gestures of affection, and compassionate acts of generosity so many of us witness, perform, and receive as we move through life.
But if there is no kindness towards one self only towards others - is it true kindness?
Consider this - If a friend is telling you about a mistake they made at work and how bad they feel about it, what would you say to them?.......
You might say: 'Don't worry mistakes happen, we are only human and as long as you can grow from this mistake, it will all be fine. You are a great, smart person'.....something along these lines, right?
Now consider this scenario - you have made a mistake at work and you feel bad about it. What is your internal dialogue towards your own self? When you spiral in a loop of self doubt and deprecation, where is that Kind voice you used to soothe your friend, is it there for you?
For me, the tool for eradicating this discriminatory way of being kind to others and not myself has been my decade long yoga practice and meditation. When you meditate or if you do not meditate, when you take a solitary walk, or sit in silence with the possibility of observing your thoughts, what comes up?
Here is what happens with me:
When I sit with my busy mind and eventually the ripples calm down and the mind becomes quieter, I observe what comes up. Sometimes nothing comes up, other times an overwhelming feeling of gratitude but other times a seemingly unwelcome visitor - Doubt. For me it is usually something along the lines of - not good enough, try harder, be better! Instead of getting sad or upset, I have come to embrace these shadows and observe this with curiosity, sometimes giving Doubt this knowing look, like - Oh I recognise you!
Then I go about my day, and I receive an email and let's say someone is dissatisfied with something I have done. Ordinarily I would Doubt myself and spiral in blame and frustration at myself. But just this morning, I have observed this feeling and I am familiar with Doubt - so I say: 'wait a minute I know you, I recognise you'.
Thank you for helping me become a stronger, a hard working person because without doubt and constantly checking in with myself I would not be where I am today. However, the Kind thing to do in this moment is not to blame myself, I will resolve this issue from a place of Love.
This ensures my mental health is more stable, but also somehow the perceived issue is no longer a conflict and it manages to be smoothed and resolved with much more ease. This is because I responded to this issue from a place of kindness rather than doubt.
This same exercise can be applied when you practice yoga and observe your self-talk during either a strong and challenging Forrest Yoga practice or a mellow Yin practice where you have plenty of time to 'think'.
I am so so happy to have a tribe of people on my Unlimited Yoga Membership who inspire me with their practice, their questions and their enthusiasm for all things mind and body - I hope you will join and be one of them!