On Spreading Kindness: Don't Forget About Yourself

Kindness is a concept almost everyone on the planet is familiar with. Parents teach their children to be kind, we expect our friends to be kind to us, and most people seek to be kind to the ones they love. But when considering kindness, we often forget about being kind to ourselves.

 

Google Dictionary describes kindness as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” When we look at the synonyms for kindness, they include “warmth, gentleness, concern, and care.” Neither part of this definition describes kindness as an act solely done toward others; so why are we so quick to forget about being kind to ourselves?

 

Whether it be in body image, grade average, or general expectations, as women, we can be extremely hard on ourselves. Francesca Giulia Mereu, a leadership coach and writer for executive-women.com has named this phenomenon the “Wonder Woman Guilt.” She describes it as so:

 

“Emma strives to deliver excellent results while caring for everyone around her: her team, her colleagues, her boss, and when she goes home she starts again with her family and friends.

During our session she shares with me how guilty she feels when she cannot tick off every item on her ‘Wonder Woman list’. While Emma is chasing her super-human standards, she finds herself having have no energy left to attend to her own needs. Hardly surprising.”

 

When we forget about kindness toward ourselves and only focus on pleasing others, we begin to see self care as shameful and unneeded. In reality, self care and self kindness are a hugely significant factor in mental health and personal well being.

 

Francesca Giulia Mereu also goes on to give 3 signs to look out for:

  1. You think that you ‘should’ be able to go through your list with total ease and impeccable effectiveness – and succeed no matter what

  2. You have very high standards in almost everything you do – and feel guilty when you can’t meet them

  3. You feel that you can do it alone – and struggle or forget to ask for help

 

If you find any of these categories applicable to you, you are falling into a trap. I am here to tell you that these expectations you have set for yourself are unrealistic and unnecessary, and do not fall under the title of kindness.

 

We often try to do everything and anything, and do so completely on our own. The reality remains that this thought process and behavior is not only unkind to ourselves, but can be extremely damaging to confidence and self image. Although we are women, beautifully made and incredibly strong, we are just human; we were not made to be perfect. We were made to be flawed, and to love and live and grow and learn anyway.

So in light of World Kindness Day, I encourage you to add yourself to the list of people who deserve kindness. You are worthy of being kind to yourself. You deserve self care and love.

 

This can be hard; for some people, self care and kindness do not come easily. If that is you, start with the little things. List the things you did well during your day. Write down your favorite qualities about yourself. Recognize your value and worth don’t come from others opinions of you, but from who you are inside. Listen to your emotions and give them space to exist: they are a valid and important part of you.

 

But most of all, give yourself permission to be kind. Give yourself the go: learn how to love who you are, learn to show kindness and forgiveness to yourself, and the rest will begin to fall into place.