Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kindness to Ourselves and Others

Kindness is being generous to the spirit.  It comes when we give ourselves and our time to help others without expecting anything in return.  When we show kindness, we bring out the best in ourselves.  We also brighten somebody else’s day which makes ourselves feel happier.

We should pay attention to how our behavior impacts others.  We should also notice our feelings in relation to how they react, especially on how we feel when others show us kindness.  What we give comes back to us seven fold   When we are kind, not only do we get immediate payback in terms of the "feel good" factor, but we also receive kindness from others in unexpected and unrelated ways.

It is easy to find ways to be kind to others.  We can say something supportive when our instincts feel someone needs to hear it, offer help without being asked, smile encouragingly, swallow our criticisms, listen without judging, let mistakes slide instead of assigning blame, and make small sacrifices for the benefit of someone in need.

A great rule of thumb I apply to my life is to do unto others as I’d have them do unto me, and, do unto myself as I’d do unto others.  The latter part is just as important as the former.  It is no good to be consistently kind to others and forget to be so to ourselves.  This will cause us to run out of steam, and to feel less able to show kindness to others if we don’t replenish our own minds, body, and spirit on a regular basis.

Being kind to ourselves means getting our needs met, being gentle with ourselves instead of critical when we feel we're not performing at our best, forgiving ourselves when we need to instead of beating ourselves up.  When we get into the habit of treating ourselves with kindness, it becomes easier to extend that consideration and behavior to others.