Being Kind Starts with Being Kind to Yourself

I have a philosophy in life that I need to be surrounded by the people that make me feel good.
This doesn’t have to be people that support everything I do. I feel that a good friend who will tell you when you are wrong but do so with positive regard is the most valuable sort of friend you can have.
Many people are quick to assume the worst of you and to attack you for what they perceive as your flaws. Much of the time these attacks are transference of their own flaws and negative thoughts. At times I feel that all the hate and resentment that has built up in others is being transferred onto me regardless of how compassionate my intentions have been.
I believe that it is very important to be able to face your demons and acknowledge your faults. However, you need to be able to do this with a forgiveness in your heart. If the people around you can’t do this for you then it is going to be harder to do this for yourself. Self-betterment comes from this compassionate acknowledgement that you are not perfect and you can improve. Focusing on improvement frames this process in a positive light and helps you to take the steps forward to being a happier person.
I have often grappled with confusion around the selfishness of self-improvement. If I spend too much time looking after myself, taking time out to exercise, meditate and ensure I get a good nights sleep and don’t drink too much alcohol, am I being selfish by taking away some of the time I could be dedicating to friends, family and good causes? If I cancel going out for a friends birthday because I don’t have the money or energy, am I being a terrible friend? If I don’t donate my money and time to charity, am I being too posessive with my wealth?
What I have learned, and learned the hard way is what, really, I knew all along.
You can’t look after other people if you can’t look after yourself.
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A friend once described it to me as ‘you can’t give to someone something you do not have. When you do, you end up in deficit.’ When you live in deficit you will always be fighting to feel normal. You give but you do so with resentment. This often leads to other people feeling guilty for taking from you. You may even engage in forcing your kindness on to others, ‘no, you really MUST take this’, which can leave someone feeling indebted to you against their will.
But when you have an abundance of compassion, energy and positive regard, then suddenly it becomes easier to give this with enthusiasm and without expectation of something in return. When you know what your optimum energy level is, you know when you have given enough and it’s time to recharge. And when you take time out to recharge, you can return to life ready to give again and do so without resentment.
Overcoming both the physical and mental struggles of having IBS, as well as overcoming depression and stress, involved taking a mirror to myself and taking a hammer to the wall I’d built around myself. I had to admit to myself some things that I wasn’t proud of but equally I had to admit to myself what my strengths are and my positive traits. It’s too easy to criticise ourselves but when you truely look after yourself, you can start to see yourself in a better light.
That’s what this website is all about. I want to share with you and for you to share with me the kindnesses we show ourselves. And why we do this. Not out of selfishness but out of a kindness to both ourselves and to those we love, those who we don’t know and even those who make us feel bad.

 

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