Are We Kind?

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
                                                                                             -Kahil Gibran

The other week a friend had suggested I be kind to myself. That word stood out to me; kind. I think and talk about nurturing ourselves. We read and talk about loving ourselves. I don’t often hear about being kind to ourselves. It sounds good. When I think it or say it, it feels good too. What is being kind?

Kind is like being gentle, but different. Being kind involves an action and doesn’t just mean going easy on our self judgments. When we actively love ourselves we are being kind to ourselves. To be loving to ourselves carries with it the weight of how we were loved in our lives and so can be hard. Being kind feels so light. It involves how we take care of ourselves through baths and spas and pedicures and taking rest….but it is also so much more. It doesn’t carry comfort with it, like with food; except maybe to be kind through not overeating and making good choices by ordering a salad with our sandwich instead of french fries.

Kind. My father loved words, and in his work would look up the root meanings of many of the words his patients used. He would listen to them at a deep level and a level so they, he and they, could understand what was underneath their conscious minds. With this in mind, one word he loved to use and to teach with is “nice”. People use that word a lot; nice. “That was nice.” “He was such a nice person.” So he looked it up, and so did I. Its root meaning from old French, Middle English, and Italian meant to be foolish, ignorant, and senseless. Over time we had changed the meaning to one more superficial; pleasant, agreeable.

If we really think about it, most of the time we use the word, “nice” we use it in the context of being or acting unknowing. When we say, “She is very nice”, often in an underlying way really means, she doesn’t confront, or she takes our words at face value. When we hear someone say “nice”, or you yourself use the word, take a minute and see what the true meaning is; unknowing, or pleasant, or both.

Kind is from Middle English and means; helpful, considerate, natural, and even indulgent. Being kind to us and others certainly fits the original definition. Can you be helpful and considerate to yourself? And can you consciously take the time and effort to consciously be helpful to you? Take an extra five minutes a day and do something kind for yourself.

Small Actions that Promote Big Results:

Let’s do a little exercise. First, take out a piece of paper and pen and write out or list actions you can think of that are helpful and considerate to you. Next list ones that are helpful to others.

Take the time to consciously do at least one act of kindness for you, and for another every day for 40 days and write them down.

After the 40 days, take a moment to sit back and see and feel what difference that has made for you in your life. I would love to hear how this goes for you. Feel free to share.

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