For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.
– Sam Levenson
When people ask me if there is one thing they can do to make a difference, I would always say to be kind. I would add by saying that you need to be kind to yourself first, then to others. When people think of kindness, they think that is the act one does to others. But real kindness starts with you. Most of us don’t realize how hard we are on ourselves. We are constantly criticizing, blaming and punishing ourselves in our heads. We are the hardest critics to ourselves. Many people recognized this, but they do not know how to break this vicious cycle. The key to being kind to yourself is to give permission to pat your shoulder and recognize the goodness in you.
When you see a child trying hard to do some task, you could easily say “good job for trying” no matter what the outcome is. But when it comes to you, you are unable to say the same. Why is this? You are exactly the same as the child who needs recognition, acceptance, and love. It is time for you to reconnect with your inner child who has been neglected, abused and ignored. The inner child is your emotional self that resides in your heart who will always be young, open, loving, curious and kind. He or she has been hurt so much that he/she is hiding deep inside and waiting for you to come find him/her.
I will give you a simple exercise. Take a few deep breath in and out and center yourself. Close your eyes and tell your inner child, “I am sorry for not being there for you when you needed me. I know you have been trying hard for everything you do for a very long time. I am not leaving you alone anymore. We are walking this journey together, and I will recognize you and take care of you. You are creative, kind, fun (or whatever the words you seem fit to your inner child) and I will bring that out to everything I do.” Imagine yourself giving a big hug to this fearful child and let this child relax into your arms and bring the biggest smile out in him/her.
Now you have connected and made peace with your inner child; your next step is to live from your heart. Kindness comes naturally because it is our nature. We just forgot. You need to take baby steps to remember who you are — kind and loving.
Start with what you can handle. For some, you may commit to saying “thank you” whenever someone does something nice for you. Or say “hello” to everyone you meet and share your smile. Look for goodness in your children, partners, parents and friends and give them praise and share your appreciation when appropriate. Start your kindness with you, and then to your family, to your circle of friends and then let it spread to the community and the world. Treat everyone as your family — with love and respect. Your heart will open more and more as you commit every day that you are going to be kind to yourself and others.