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The quality I admire most in others, the one character trait I wish for our children and the word I’d love for our family to be defined by is kindness.

My friend just told me that in a study of what makes marriages last, the biggest factor was kindness. Honesty, communication, love – these are all good things. Kindness is like all of these wrapped into one.

Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

We all like friendly, generous and considerate people. It’s who we want to be, who we hope to be married to and how we want our kids to be.

I am a kind person … at least most of the time. I am friendly. I am generous. I try to be considerate.

But to myself, I can be so unkind.

At barre class a few years ago, I had this sweet moment with God that woke me up to my pretty lousy way of being. I became aware that although I was kind to others, I was terribly mean to myself. I said critical, inconsiderate things in my head without even realizing. I told myself I must be perfect. That if I was not perfect, I was a failure. That I needed to do more and strive more and work harder to prove my worth. That if I was not able to do it well, I should not even try.

I actually said these rude things to myself! For way too many years! These are mean statements I would never say to a friend and words I don’t even believe to be true.

I love that the Lord opened my mind that day to recognize the ways I am unkind to myself. It is the first step to healing and transformation and the bravest thing we can do is pay attention, name the belief and decide if it’s true or false.

Where is this pressure to be perfect coming from? Who is expecting perfection out of me?

Who is calling me a failure?

Do I really believe I can prove my value through my own effort?

This is the work of renewing your mind.

It’s remembering the Truth and reframing your beliefs and attitude and behavior to fall in line. We love because He first loved us. We are generous because He provides for all of our needs. We are considerate because we trust that He calls us all His beloved.

Be kind. To others. And to yourself. 

Being kind to ourselves can look like many things:

+ speaking truthful words to ourselves instead of critical lies

+ accepting our bodies and being grateful for strength and health instead of focusing on the flaws

+ filling ourselves with healthy, nourishing food instead of eating junk and then feeling even worse

+ taking time to quiet our souls instead of rushing through and keeping busy

+ laughing instead of taking life so seriously

+ spending quality time with our friends and family instead of being half-engaged

While dropping my son at school I drove by a u-cut dahlia garden with the prettiest blooms.

A big bouquet of dahlias would look so bright and cheerful in our house, I thought. It’s gray and gloomy outside and a bouquet of pretty flowers sure would make me happy.

So you know what I did? I decided to treat myself to an armful of flowers as an act of kindness. It was such a good decision.

Just one little way I’m learning to be kind to myself.

 

What have you done for yourself lately as an act of kindness? I’d love to hear …