Kia ora, welcome to health and kindness!
Most of us would agree - we want to feel ok - we don't want to feel bad.
But life isn't always smooth sailing. No matter how much we wish it wasn't so, things happen that are not what we expected, or how we think they "should" be.
Often that doesn't feel good.
And it can be so hard to feel ok about ourselves when we're in the middle of tough times - or when we're trying to recover from them.
We can feel stuck, confused, a mess, defeated, even ashamed.
And we don't like feeling this way!
We can get messages about how we may have caused the bad stuff to happen and, sadly, the people and the world around us are not necessarily helpful either.
So tough times, big or small, can be painful, and feel very personal.
We ask: "why is this happening to me? what can I do about it? what can I do to make myself feel better?"
We can end up trying to bargain with life.
It can go from: “I want things to be better, I want a different life"
to: "I wish I was different, if only I was - on top of things, stronger, fitter, thinner, nicer, calmer, more successful, richer, had better relationships...(fill this space).
We ourselves become the target - the problem.
We try to change our feelings by changing ourselves. We try so hard to be "better" or "more" and very often end up feeling worse.
Stress, pain, overwhelm - they all set off changes in our body. These body changes drive patterns of thought and behaviour which can be very unkind - "negative thinking", avoidance, withdrawal, soothing ourselves with food or drugs, and so on. And then attempts to change these reflex patterns of thought and behaviour can become very unkind in themselves if the cultivation of kindness is not part of the remedy.
I have worked with people who are in great distress - unwell or overwhelmed - for decades. I have seen over and over that when we are struggling to improve our health and well being, surprisingly little attention is given to kindness in what we do and how we do it. Health becomes a sort of battle ground, full of scare stories, judgements and "shoulds", and to-do lists which are hard to manage. And often we are burdened by an underlying belief, a critique, that we are "wrong" in some way and need to be corrected, fixed, improved.
And we just have to look around to see the impact on our world when kindness is lacking. People and relationships suffer without respect, thoughtful help, warmth or caring - and these are just a few of the qualities that are encompassed by kindness. So from the world scale to our individual struggles, kindness is an important issue.
- Kindness feels good but we generally don't give it much attention.
- People are often dismissive of kindness because of misunderstandings about it.
- It is innate, wired into our biology, a human survival response.
- A lack of kindness affects us - we struggle when there isn't enough in our lives.
- This has a negative impact on our health and well being.
- Whereas having kindness in our lives helps us to feel better in all kinds of (healthy) ways.
If we want to feel better - less stressed, less anxious, less depressed, less overwhelmed, less unworthy - we benefit greatly from kindness.
Kindness is a skill - we can develop and strengthen our kindness skills - in our attitudes, our ways of treating ourselves and others, and in our deeds.
If each of us does this we are not only helping ourselves - we will be helping all of us.
People who live in kindness create an atmosphere that lifts and benefits us all.
We can all learn to live well, with kindness.
What is kindness
The importance of kindness