Weekly Mission: Be Kind to Yourself

One of the many unexpected lessons I have learned while doing this project is that no matter who you are and what you have experienced, being kind to yourself is often the most challenging of all kindnesses. We all know it’s not good to take on too much, to feed ourselves an endless loop of negative self-talk, to constantly doubt our own worth and to give without being equally open to recieving. Most importantly, failing to look after ourselves and value ourselves means we are not able to give fully to others. If we feel drained of energy, love, positivity and kindness, it is virtually impossible to give those things to anyone else. Thinking about it this way makes me realise I must start making it more of a priority. Every day I make time for work, gym, socialising and doing one kind deed for someone else, but being kind to myself tends to slip off the to-do pile.

Apart from the hospital visit on Wednesday, my kindnesses this week have been on a smaller scale and this is in some ways a kindness to myself. Although the most most rewarding kindnesses are usually those that require really going out on a limb, they take up a lot of time and energy and its simply not sustainable to keep that up every day. Besides that, sometimes even the smallest kindnesses can be more powerful than you could ever predict, as was the case this week.

On Tuesday I bought coffee for a lady who looked very stressed and frazzled. She was in a big rush to get to work until she heard about the year of kindness, and then seemed to have all day to talk about the importance of being kind to one another! Thursday I baked brownies for a friend who has just had a baby. And on Friday I spoke to the gym instructor to tell her I had really enjoyed her class. I also told her she should not get so down on herself for the tiny mistakes she made, because I wouldn’t have even noticed if she hadn’t kept pointing them out! Just another example of how we can create self-fulfilling prophecies. This morning when I saw her again she revealled that she had actually been thinking of quitting because she felt she wasn’t very good at being an instructor, but after that class she had changed her mind because she realised her her “flaws” were probably mostly in her head. Incredible the power of some positive feedback. I’m so glad she had that realisation, considering she loves the job so much and is actually one of the best instructors.

After all the incredible kindness experiences that took place on July 13th a few of you have requested more missions that we can undertake together. So, each week I will set a different mission – something I will also do myself, of course – and you can choose to join in if you wish. I hope you will continue to share the results of your missions because it is amazing to hear about the little kindness ripples spreading out all over the world!

This week’s mission: Be kind to yourself. Do at least one thing this week that is purely about making you feel happy, calm and worthy of your own kindness. And if you know someone that needs to be kinder to themselves, encourage them to join in this mission too. Go for a walk in the rain, cook your favourite meal, meditate, dance around your living room, buy yourself some flowers, make a list of all the things that are awesome about you. Forgive yourself. Talk to yourself as you would your very best friend. Be happy. You deserve it.

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. freshrevelations365
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 00:11:29

    This is an incredible mission! It hits at the very core of our being. They often say that you cannot love anyone until you love yourself. It is of the utmost importance that we take time out of our day to treat ourselves. Even if it’s having a cup of coffee uninterrupted for 10 minutes, which btw is by far one of my favorite rituals. I am definitely going to put some thought into this one. Great post =)

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 17, 2011 @ 10:52:57

      I totally agree, fresh. It should be a priority everyday because it influences everything single thing we do. Sitting down for a quiet coffee is definitely blissful, and something I hardly ever make time for. Look forward to hearing what you come up with! 🙂

      Reply

  2. nicolefilosa
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 00:47:10

    incredible story about the gym instructor! your simple kindness helped heal her mind of her defeatist thoughts, you literally changed her world! that’s powerful and so inspiring. keep doing what you’re doing!

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 17, 2011 @ 10:56:03

      Yeah, I was quite amazed myself, Nicole. Just goes to show no kindness is ever insignificant! And if I hadn’t spoken to her again I never would have even known.

      Reply

  3. Paprika Furstenburg
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 01:36:21

    Took me a bit of therapy to learn the importance of being kind to myself without feeling like I was being selfish. Your post was spot on. I always make time for others and speak more kindly to others than I do to myself. Glad to know I’m not the only one who does that.

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 17, 2011 @ 11:02:09

      I think many, many people struggle with it, Paprika, even if they don’t show it. Even once you learn the lesson, knowing something and actually putting it into practice are two very different things! Good luck with the mission!

      Reply

  4. 12 Novels in 12 Months
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 01:57:18

    Thank you for this post! I’m notorious for being hard on myself and it’s so important that you look after yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the bad things in your life or the things you wish you could change about yourself. If you love your friends and family despite (or sometimes because of) their flaws, why is it so hard to accept yourself?

    This shouldn’t be one of the hardest acts of kindness out there but for so many it is. Thank you for validating peoples’ desire to treatment themselves better and literally saying it’s okay to forgive yourself the mistakes you make. I don’t know how many years of therapy I needed to get to that point. Kudos to you!

    Thank you for making my great day wonderful. My little soul is even happier now.

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 17, 2011 @ 11:10:41

      You’re right, Sandra, it doesn’t make any sense that we can be so unconditionally supportive of others but can’t do the same for ourselves. If you’re anything like me, writing is the same deal – I’m my own worst critic and its not at all conducive to creativity! We definitely need to find the balance between giving and recieving.

      Reply

  5. Lexy Raine
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 02:13:40

    Funny that you should mention this as my next months Happiness Project is titled “Love Thyself” and is filled with numerous kindness to myself. 🙂 I’m doing it first before September’s month of helping others as I totally agree that we can’t give nearly as much as we’d like if we don’t take care of ourselves first.

    I also posted some ideas for this a few months ago here http://lexyraine.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/put-your-oxygen-mask-on-first/

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 17, 2011 @ 11:18:42

      How funny – great minds, eh Lexy? I’m thinking I’ll take a leaf out of your “play” book this week and do something really fun just for the sake of it. Been meaning to do something like that for ages but just never got around to it.

      Reply

  6. Future Focused
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 03:20:18

    This is a wonderful post. I totally agree with you. True kindness begins in the heart. Our own heart! Life is about balance. Balance between nurturing others and my spirit. Keep on keepin on! Be well my friend!

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 17, 2011 @ 11:22:56

      Thankyou, Future, you’re so right – I would say the most effective and happiest people are those that have found the perfect balance between giving and recieving. It’s a fine art, but its important to get right. Good luck! 🙂

      Reply

  7. Christina
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 23:39:38

    Thank you. I’ve seen similar advice but I appreciate you saying that one should “talk to yourself as you would your very best friend”. I never thought of it that way
    and it puts kindness to self in a perspective that is more actionable.
    “Would I say this to my best friend?” Is the question I’ll be asking whenever that negative self-talk starts to make an appearance. I’m thrilled!

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 18, 2011 @ 18:54:22

      I know what you mean, Christina – its easy to say what we should do but hard to know exactly how. I hope it works for you. Another way to think about it is: Would I still be friends with someone that talked to me this way? If not, you shouldn’t talk to yourself that way either! 🙂

      Reply

  8. monkeygreens
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 03:42:33

    This is without a doubt my new favorite blog, and the reason is purely selfish. It has completely made me incorporate these humanitarian philosophies into my life with more priority. I find myself so much more thinking before I react, and caring more about how I can be present and find opportunities to encourage a more loving and giving community. I agree self nurturing is so key! A hot bath, a long walk, a good nap….can make such a difference! Thank you for this project, and the wonderful results of your actions…God Bless!

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 20, 2011 @ 20:26:00

      That’s fantastic monkeygreens, good on you! It’s such a powerful thing simply to be open to opportunities, especially those that could make your whole community more giving. I’m sure you will find some, and after a nice bath and a long nap you’ll be ready to take on the world! 🙂

      Reply

  9. lavieeuropaa
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 03:48:42

    I really love this idea and I will definitely work on being kinder to myself this week. A new job and post-grad life has left me a bit deflated, but finding small pleasures and joy in our own lives can often lead to greater things in the lives of those around us- I have found that with my own attempts at appreciating the beauty in everyday expereinces. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 20, 2011 @ 20:30:23

      You’re so right, lavie. It’s easy to forget that giving to yourself is also indirectly giving to others. New jobs are exhausting, aren’t they? Good luck – I hope you make the time to look after yourself this week (if not every week!)

      Reply

  10. Trackback: Treat Yourself Like a Precious Object | themolesworthdiaries
  11. Trackback: Choice vs. Obligation: Intention is Everything « yearofkindness

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