“Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world.” -Pema Chodron
3 Ways to be Kinder to Yourself:
- Do something that delights you – something that made you ecstatic as a child. Sing some songs in a hairbrush microphone, go to a local farm and pet baby goats, or start collecting stamps again. Give yourself an excuse to squeal: hula hoop, finger paint, get lost in a lego set – whatever makes you BEAM. Invite play back into your life.
- Begin to notice when you use the word “should”. It’s a sneaky word, should; it masks a good idea in a cloak of judgement. Replace it with “could”, which expresses opportunity. I should start collecting stamps….or I could start collecting stamps. I should take a vocal class…or I could take a vocal class. Go for inspiration and opportunity, let go of shame.
- Say I love you in the mirror. Yep, now. Grab your phone, get into selfie mode and just before you snap the pic, look into your eyes and say, “I love you.”’ How did that feel? What did that picture look like? No big deal, but take a moment or two to notice your reaction.
Practice these three things for the next week. Continue to notice how you feel afterwards, bringing your attention to your body. How else can you practice self-kindness?
3 Ways to be Kinder in the World
- Acknowledge people who may often go unnoticed – street vendors, janitors, window washers, the homeless – by looking at them in their eyes. You can nod, say hello, or neither – yet simply communicating from your heart, “I see you. You are here and I recognize you as a fellow human being.” If that’s uncomfortable for you, then for a moment, wish that person well.
- Pick up trash. You already don’t litter, of course, but when you see garbage on the ground, pick it up and carry it with you until you find a garbage can. While picking up one piece of trash isn’t a global litter solution, it is one person, YOU, doing what you can. Maybe someone else witnesses this and does the same, maybe no one sees at all. Your act of kindness to the earth still matters.
- Imagine that everyone around you is having the most insane day of their lives. The guy who cut you off on the freeway this morning: his wife is in labor in the back seat. The waitress who got your brunch order completely backwards – her home just burned down. And that cashier who was just down right rude, well, he had a sobering doctor’s appointment earlier. You can forgive them, just today.
As you do this things in the coming days and weeks, see if any other kindness seeps its way into your attention. What else do you notice? Are you called to expand this list? How else can you flood kindness into the world?