Updated: Nov 13, 2022
It seems like there is a day for everything. I am constantly seeing posts celebrating some type of food or beverage. Here are a few I found while googling: National Cupcake Day, National Pasta Day, National Green Bean Casserole Day, National Espresso Day. We could find something to celebrate everyday of this year if we wanted. I’ll be celebrating National Pizza Day!
There are other specific days that don’t revolve around food and drinks. One of them has just passed, World Kindness Day. World Kindness Day is every year on November 13th. The World Kindness Movement introduced this day in 1998. Most of what I read about celebrating this day had to do with how we treat others, outward behaviors and postures. This is good and well, and I’m sure we can all agree we want to be kind towards others.
But what if we looked at World Kindness Day a bit differently? Maybe challenged ourselves in a different way?
I’m proposing we take a look at how we practice kindness to ourselves.
When considering how we assess kindness towards ourselves, a few ideas come to mind: what we expect of ourselves, how we take care of ourselves, and how we talk to ourselves.
An expectation is a belief that someone will or should achieve something. Consider what you believe about yourself regarding achievements, whether that is being a parent, an employee, a friend, a sister or brother, a son or daughter. In all these areas of life, we hold beliefs about ourselves, a lot of “shoulds.” I should do this, or I should do that. Where did your expectations come from? Are they realistic? Are we asking too much of ourselves? Perhaps we reevaluate the burdens we may carry to be the best in all areas of life and add in more kindness and compassion to sustain us and enable us to show up in all the areas of life.
What comes to mind when you think of self-care? I used to think it was getting a massage or going on a vacation. Massages and vacations are great! But they are not practical when it comes to taking care of ourselves daily. Self-care can be getting a good night’s sleep, connecting with friends, drinking plenty of water, eating enough during the day, going on a walk, listening to music, or reading a book. What if we considered self-care as a kindness toward ourselves? Take some time and think about one or two things you want to implement as a kindness to yourself.
Out of the three ways to assess if we are kind to ourselves, I believe this one to be the most important. We speak to ourselves more than anyone else, and how we speak matters. When we know we’ve messed up, how do we speak to ourselves afterwards? Maybe you think you could have done a better job on a project at work, or you could have handled your child getting upset in a better way. What do you say to yourself? Take some time and write down some automatic thoughts that come to mind. Would you say those things to a friend who is having a hard day? If the answer is no, consider rewriting those thoughts from a lens of kindness and compassion.
It is good for all of us to think about how we can show kindness to those around us, not just on World Kindness Day, but everyday. I’ve found that for most people, it is easier to be kind to others, but much more difficult to give ourselves that same kindness and compassion. Take some time and consider these three areas of your internal life. How can you give yourself more kindness?