Today’s objective: Identify the key role kindness can play in developing self-love – and love for others.
The next of the five mental tools to develop self-love is kindness, both for yourself as well as for others. While gratitude is traditionally mostly concerned with what you receive, the other four, including kindness are, in fact, two way streets: they have the amazing ability of being positive both ways – when used towards yourself as well as towards others.
But what exactly counts as kindness? Kindness is notoriously hard to define: It can be doing something “kind”, like running an errand for a friend. Or it can be doing something altruistic, such as giving money to charity. While it is hard to put a finger on, you instantly know when encounter it. It just feels “good”.
And just as much as it feels good, it is important: Did you know that the number one predictor for relationship success is kindness between the couple? One study looked at what created the most lasting and happiest relationships. Good sex, common interests and time spend together were all unsurprisingly important. But actually, when psychologists looked at what kept long-term couples together, they found the one thing that predicted both relationship longevity and relationship satisfaction the strongest was that both parties showed signs of kindness towards each other.
So, while kindness can do amazing things for your relationship, it can do even more amazing things for you:
1) Kindness is a way to connect to people
Simply put, it brings people together. A random act of kindness opens up small spaces where personal relationships can develop. They may not last for long in many cases, but they are seldom forgotten.
2) Kindness is contagious
Talk about karma and kindness: spaces and places where people care for each other have a completely different vibe then places where people try to compete with each other. Why? Even if kindness isn’t immediately reciprocated, it creates an atmosphere of kindness that is hard to escape – and very enjoyable! It lifts the mood of everyone around, including the person that has been kind.
3) Kindness makes a massive difference
Most people remember vividly acts of kindness, or even just kind words or a smile when they needed them. Although the giver may not always get an immediate kind response back, but he will have the knowledge that he has done something to really change the day of someone.
So what makes good kindness?
Some simple rules explain what makes kindness good kindness:
1) Be unconditionally kind
People may not immediately be kind back to you, maybe they are in a bad place at the time. But trust in the karma of kindness. So be kind because you want to be kind.
2) Genuinely care
Probably the most defining characteristic and simple trick to make normal actions kind actions is to inject just a little bit of care and empathy into them. Think how the other person feels and act how you would want to be treated in that situation.
3) Think of the other as a friend
If you’d treat a good friend like that, it is probably kind. That, by the way, includes treating yourself as a good friend!
And one thing that kindness is not… Kindness is not unconditional people pleasing. Recall the “good friend” rule from above. So kindness is not about doing everything that others want, and even less making your own self-esteem dependent on the approval of others. Kindness is treating people well, honest, helpful and friendly – as you would treat a friend. It is about making a positive difference, not being a slave to someone else.
Take-home message for today: Kindness is about being a good friend to yourself and to others.
You will need your notebook.
Time: 20 minutes extra during the day plus the reflection.
Today’s activity is about using kindness not just on others, but also on yourself. Often, people struggle with being kind to themselves, even if they are very kind towards other people around them. The activity today tries to bring the two together.
1. Think of a situation where a really good friend feels bad. Think in detail about how you respond to the friend, what you would do etc. and write this down on a list.
2. Now think of a similar situation where you feel bad. How do you usually respond to yourself feeling bad? Again write this down on a list.
3. Compare the two lists? Are there many similarities? Or are there many differences in how you’d treat your friend vs yourself? Why would you treat yourself differently?
4. Make a list how you should respond to yourself when you feel bad, based on your reflections above. Put this list in a safe place, so when you feel bad the next time, you can easily reach it and remind yourself.
Finally, think of the activity and record your reflections.
How was the activity for you?
Best thing about the activity?
What did you learn?
End of the preview.
“I went from questioning myself and self doubting to
building love for myself. Thank you!”
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