When we think of kindness we probably think about being nice to our friends, our family, the neighbors down the street, even the stranger at the grocery store. If someone were to ask you if you are a kind person, chances are you would say yes. In most settings, we were raised with the basic knowledge that we should be kind to others, you know the old saying "treat others how you want to be treated".
Now what if someone asked you if you were a kind person to yourself? Are you kind with the thoughts you think on a daily basis? Are you kind with the way you treat your body? Are you kind when it comes to the foods you eat and the products you use? Are you kind when it comes to allowing your body rest?
Likely that question brought up some emotions. Maybe shock. Sometimes guilt. Or maybe pride because you have worked really hard to become a kinder person to yourself. What I've noticed in my time working with women, being kind to others is second nature, being kind to ourselves, takes some work.
Today my goal is to explore with you what being kind to yourself looks and feels like, a simple step you can take today and some journal prompts to explore to help you choose kindness.
When I first started the process of choosing kindness for myself, I didn't know what that even looked like. Many of us have a background of constant diets, repetitive burnout, extremes and negative self talk. A big part of choosing kindness, is tapping into our selves and asking "what do I need in this moment?" This is going to look different on everyone and constantly be changing as you go throughout your day. Below you will find journal prompts to help you navigate what choosing kindness looks like for you personally but here are a few guidelines I believe can work for most.
Choosing kindness is:
The first step
The first step to choosing kindness is to simply begin. Instead of complicating things or waiting for the perfect moment to explore kindness, I encourage you to explore it now. If this is new for you, here is a quick exercise you can do to get present and tap into what your body needs. I use this with my therapy clients regularly.
Sitting in a comfortable position, take 3 long, deep breaths. Now, ask yourself
what are 5 things that you see, 4 things that you hear, 3 things that you can touch, 2 things that you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Take 3 more deep breaths and than ask yourself, what do I need in this moment? Honor what comes to you. Is it rest? Work? Nature?
When you have some time to get cozy, grab some tea or coffee and your favorite journal and explore some of these topics. This will help give you a better understanding of what you need more of on a regular basis.
What are things that you value most in your life?
What are some of your favorite ways to treat yourself?
What are your personal gifts you offer to the world?
What fills your heart up?
What would you do if you had more time in the day?
What brought you joy as a child?
What positive words describe yourself?
To me, choosing kindness means...
Write a love letter to yourself about all your accomplishments.
I hope some of these tips help you on your journey to choosing kindness. Be gentle with yourself, offer lots of grace and remember we're all in this together.
If you're looking to join a group of like minded women, join us in our private wellness group here.
Hanna Kuyper is a wife, a mom and a lover of all things outdoors. She has owned a women only wellness studio, sat on the board of a non profit dedicated to eating disorder and body image awareness and has volunteered as a mentor for girls in school. She is a current Marriage and Family Therapy Masters student and will graduate in April 2018.