“When I read your blog I hear how much you’ve changed in the past year,” my friend said. “You’re a lot kinder to yourself.”
I smiled and recalled how often I used to hear, “You’re so hard on yourself.” I suppose I believed what many do. If we aren’t hard on ourselves we won’t improve, and it’s all about improving ourselves.
Now I know that isn’t true, I’ve become a kindness evangelist. Whenever I hear someone blaming themselves, I try and offer them a kinder view.
They say, “I’m so lazy.” I say, “You sound tired.”
They say, “I’m such a failure.” I say, “You wished you’d done more.”
In spiritual direction, I hear directees say, “I don’t want to be so angry (or jealous, judgmental, impatient, etc.).”
I respond, “I hear that you’re angry.” Then I invite them to explore what they’re angry about and imagine God listening with compassion. Something beautiful often unfolds.
“Humankind. Be both,” says a bumper sticker. “Be calm. Be kind. Be safe,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry. “Be kind and compassionate to one another,” wrote Paul.
We know how important it is to be kind to others, and yet we can be so unkind to ourselves. I wasn’t even aware of it until I kept experiencing God’s kindness and the kindness of others.
Where do you experience kindness?
Perhaps it’s in a friend’s smile or in the way your dog greets you with those soulful eyes.
Perhaps it’s in a song that brings you to tears or the taste of a plump, sweet blackberry.
Our grandson likes to give us our “daily boops.” He smiles and taps us on the nose four times and says,”Boop, boop, boop, boop.”
Brené Brown offers herself FFTs. If you don’t know what that is, listen to this podcast.
Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That love is patient and kind.
What would it be like to offer yourself patience and kindness the next time you get down on yourself?
Talk to yourself as you would someone you love.
— Brené Brown
∗ ∗ ∗
Our need for loving-kindness is deep and real. God knows we didn’t get enough and wants to do something about that. Raffi says that in this song. When I listen to it, it brings me to tears because it names what’s true and gives me hope.
What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.
I laughed out loud when I read this Esther! The first thing I said when I heard you were going to be my supervisor was, “She’s so hard on herself, I’m afraid she’ll be hard on me!” Thanks for being so kind Esther. It helps me to be kind too. Tanya