Let me be honest–it's hard to want to continue to help and be nice as of late. Being kind and paying it forward are things I strive to do all the time, but I've encountered so much rudeness, hate, and selfishness or in worse cases, apathy. As one more person lets a door shut in my face, or cuts me off while driving, says terrible things online, or just doesn't seem to care at all, it's a real struggle to want to be better, to give more of myself away.
This challenge forced me to pause and reflect, take some personal inventory. I kept asking myself what were new things I could do to step up my game–realistically that is, because I am a busy mom of four. It took some time before I realized that instead of listing all the steps I planned to take to achieve my goal and possibly making my life even more stressful than it already is, I needed to list the one big step I wasn't going to take–or a step back, if you will.
I think the best path forward for me to show more kindness and inclusivity this year is by taking a step back and starting with myself. I know that may sound a little selfish, but let me explain.
I think it's become very obvious during the last few years that addressing mental wellness must become a focus of all generations. We need to support ourselves, be kind to ourselves and love who we are. And if we don't? Then let's be honest about it.
In a society hyper focused on being perfect, it has been very draining and depressing to realize I don't always measure up. I'm getting older with more fat, wrinkles and most recently high blood pressure. I've been trying to find that balance that includes loving myself with having goals I want to achieve.
I know I need to lose weight for a variety of reasons, but I also need to give myself grace and accept that the process comes with successes AND set backs.
If my house isn't perfect, and I didn't make a well-balanced meal for my family, it will be okay. If all the laundry didn't get done, or I didn't find time to write, it will be okay. I need to strive to recognize that my worth isn't in comparing myself to others each day. That my gender, race and economic status are a part of me, but don't define me.
I think being kinder to myself can only lead to more acceptance and kindness when turning my view on others. If I can give myself grace, then I hope to feel more confident and secure in myself. Paying it forward becomes less of a chore and more of a blessing again.
I sincerely hope that anyone reading this feels that draw to take a step back and focus on themselves so that they can become confident and able to extend that kindness and inclusivity to others. That the love they turn inward will enable them to shine outward.
In practical ways, I've begun to tell myself one positive thing about me whenever I think of something not so good. I've been trying to extend that mindset to thinking of others as well. If I'm upset that a person isn't ready at the check-out and is holding up the line or someone cuts me off while driving, I'm trying to show more grace with my thoughts and words (spoken and typed)–maybe they've had a miserable morning or just can't catch a break.
I don't mean to imply that bad behavior should just be accepted without question or consequence, but I do need to remember there's a person behind those actions, and they may need a kind word and some much needed compassion.
I can also work on not comparing myself to others as well as not comparing others to others. We're all unique and wonderful in our own ways. I need to remember to celebrate that, because it's truly amazing. If we all acted the same way and liked the same things, it would be a boring world.
So, my plan? Turn that kindness and inclusivity inward to start–take a step back. Little by little, I hope to extend that consistently back outward to others as my heart and mind start to heal.
Maybe if we all do the same, the world will be a more kind and loving place.
Much love to each and every one of you!
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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