World Kindness Day - how kind are you?
If you had to rate yourself, from 1 to 10, 10 being as kind as you could be and 1 being the opposite, what is your rating?
I’m guessing when I asked that you thought about how kind you are to others. Now, I’d like you to think about how kind you are to yourself. Be honest. Consider all the ways in which you are unkind to yourself. Do you criticise yourself? Berate yourself for past failures? Tell yourself you can’t do it, that you are rubbish that you should give up? Do you think that no one’s going to be interested in what you have to say? That you are too short/too fat/too thin/too loud/too annoying?
So let’s look at that rating again, how kind are you, from 1 to 10 when you are included? Does the kindness you show yourself is bring down your rating?
Would you say the things which you say to yourself (such as I’m too annoying/too fat/not good enough) to a friend? If not, why not? What reason do you have for not saying those things to other people? Now I would like you to consider if those same reasons apply to you. Would you want others to say those unkind things to you? If not, take a minute to ponder why you should be the exception, why it is ok for you to say unkind things to yourself?
Some people tell me that berating themselves keeps them motivated and encourages them to take action. So let’s look at that from another perspective. Would you ask your boss to berate you in order to give you motivation? It seems absurd because most of us instinctively feel that someone being cruel to us is unlikely to increase our motivation. Yet, it is frequently cited as good a reason for people to be unkind to themselves.
How would you feel by extending yourself kindness instead of criticism and judgement?
Perhaps you would be more likely to take a risk, to try something new, to branch out? Perhaps you would finally be happy in the skin you are in, or feel a weight lift from your shoulders. Try it, for 7 days. Don't say anything unkind to yourself, see what happens.