It’s Friday. It’s Kindness Counts Friday. Time to ‘tell all’ about the kind acts we’ve engaged in or witnessed.
I have to confess I’ve had a bit of a ‘Mweeeergh’ kind of week this week, feeling in the doldrums, and so haven’t been out and about much or engaged, myself, in many kind acts towards others.
What I have done, what I found necessary, was to be kind to myself. When you’re busy, stressed, tired, when you’re used to that lifestyle and your body, one day, says – loud and clear – “Helen, I need you to rest”, you’ve kind of got to listen to it. Your body is, after all, the only thing that enables you to move around, enables you to keep up with the rhythm of life that’s been forced on to you and that you have to overcome to be able to move on to bigger and much better things. Your mind’s strong, my goodness, yes, it is strong, but your body is what keeps you ticking along, able to deal with the whole situation, able to manage a house, a job, two children, several stressful life events all alone.
So, bottom line: body says ‘stop’, Helen listens.
I worked my normal hours, napped when I needed to, read more than I usually would do, cooked especially delicious food. We danced, laughed, enjoyed each other more than usual (because my body told me that was necessary). We went to bed earlier than normal, for cuddles, and woke up at the same time: my goodness, extra sleep is a really good thing!
I was, basically, consciously kind to myself the whole week and it paid dividends. I feel much better. Less anxious. Less stressed. More positive. More optimistic. I feel like I’ve got a whole new perspective and have vowed to treat myself much more kindly in future. I’ve read, in many places, as I’ve been on my healing journey, following all the things we’ve lived, that one key to healing is to ask yourself, “How would I treat a friend if she came to me for help, telling me all these things?”. I did this exercise and I was horrified with myself, horrified that I wasn’t in the habit of giving myself the same advice I’d give to friends, of making sure that I took that advice and, through this, made my life better. I’ve realised, this week, that it’s common kindnesses like this – that I’d normally give out to all my friends, anyone who crosses my path who needs a ‘pick me up’ – that are going to make or break my future self and, as such, make or break our future life.
So, I’m vowing to engage in introspective kindness, to make sure I make time for active kindness towards myself.
My two littles are only going to be OK if I’m OK. And I’m only going to be OK if I engage in more self reflections and act on those things I need to change as a result. I’m only going to be OK if I learn to listen to my body when it’s telling me it needs a bit of tenderness, a bit of kindness. As the great Oprah Winfrey says, “…the Universe speaks to us in whispers. If we ignore the whispers, we get pebbles of warnings. If we still don’t pay attention, we get bricks of problems and if we’re really hard-headed, eventually the entire brick wall comes crashing down. When you don’t pay attention to the pebbles, its just a matter of time before the bricks show up”.
I’ve learnt a great big lesson this week: not only does kindness to others count but kindness to self is fundamental.
[Happy Halloween everyone! Wishing you all a wonderful night tonight!]