I’m not sure kindness featured in the original list of gifts I made two weeks ago but it is one that is on my mind now and it feels fitting to write about it.
You see it is 7:48pm on a Saturday night and in truth the last thing I want to do is write a blog post. I’d much rather relax with my book or do my jigsaw puzzle!
It did cross my mind to miss a day but I know I’ll feel really rubbish if I do that.
So I was thinking about what would be really easy for me to write about – something that wouldn’t take forever yet still be helpful for people.
And as I was tidying the kitchen after dinner, kindness leapt to mind. I had been discussing kindness with a client yesterday and we both agreed that a little kindness goes a long way. My client shared that she had stopped to talk to a neighbour and that her neighbour felt much better as a result.
When we think of kindness we often think about kindness to others. Doing a kind deed, saying something kind – and it’s easy to think the world would be a better place if more people showed kindness to others.
But what about kindness to ourselves?
You see as I was clearing up after dinner I found myself getting grumpy and resentful. It had been a full on day taking the Christmas decorations down, going for a walk, doing umpteen loads of washing and cooking – and the day had been made shorter because I got up late.
Knowing I still had lots to do after I’d finished tidying made me cross.
But my husband had offered to tidy the kitchen after dinner but I said no because it was so untidy (I’m a messy cook)!
However it struck me that if I were being kind to myself then I would have gratefully accepted his offer of help. And then I wouldn’t have been grumpy and resentful.
Thankfully I didn’t go down the rabbit hole of resentment and martyrdom – I was able to spot how my choices and behaviour brought it on.
So when my husband offered to put our daughter to bed I gratefully said yes.
I truly believe that what we want more of from others in our life – whether it’s support, love, kindness, consideration, respect – we have to turn inward; to explore whether or not we are giving these gifts to ourselves. Very often we’re not.
Do we turn down offers of help?
Do we feel guilty if someone does us a kind deed, instantly wanting to give something back?
Do we show the same consideration to ourselves as we do to others?
Do we berate ourselves up if we do something wrong or make a mistake?
14 years ago when I started on the path of transformation I noticed that EVERYTHING I did was for others. I would clean and tidy the house if we were expecting visitors, I would work hard if I had to do something for a client but if it was for me or my business I would let things slip.
I would do personal growth if it was to help me grow my business – but not to nurture myself.
I rarely did anything simply because it was fun or nourishing.
I think that’s probably why there’s such a theme of self-care and nourishment as I’ve been sharing these gifts – because so many people I work with are so giving to others and always put themselves last.
A tendency I think is largely cultural – we’re brought up not to be selfish, or greedy and to give to others. We resent people who we see as selfish or greedy – who put themselves first.
But the truth is we cannot give from an empty cup.
And when we try that’s when bitterness and resentment come in.
We feel we give, give, give but get nothing back. And then we start to pity ourselves.
And in those moments it’s important to look at ourselves, to look at our day and look at how kind and how giving we were to ourselves.
Did we sit down in the afternoon with a cup of tea and take 5 minutes to breathe? Or did we grab a cup of tea on the go?
Did we move our bodies? Break up our day by stretching? Get out for a walk? Or did we have our head down to the grindstone working all day?
Did we make time to stop and chat with a friend or were we rushing around getting things done?
Did we beat ourselves up when we made a mistake – or did we acknowledge our courage in giving something a go?
When we transform the little things HUGE shifts occur.
A little kindness goes a long way.
For me writing this blog post is an act of kindness to myself – I find writing nourishing and healing (even though I still have to ignore that little voice that keeps telling me I need to stop talking about me and share some tips or something that will help you the reader).
So what gifts of kindness can you give yourself today?
Do share below.