Mary O’Malley – We have been exploring the many faces of kindness for it is what will guide us through this time of chaos. This urge toward kindness has been nestled in the heart of every religion, oftentimes showing up as the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
I was once at a retreat center where there was a huge poster on the wall and the Golden Rule was written in the language of all the great religions. It touched me deeply. If you Google it, you will see that the first record of the golden rule was in 2040 BC! And yet it’s only now gaining a lasting foothold in so many people’s lives.
There is one place we haven’t yet fully explored in these blogs, the place where kindness is most needed—and that is with you. You hear slogans like ‘gorilla goodness’ or ‘practice random acts of kindness’ but most of that is about being kind to other people. But being kind with yourself is often one of the last things you think about! Most of us are usually kinder to our pets than we are to ourselves! We also have a tendency to think that being kind to ourselves is selfish. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is self-full!
In everything you long for, this is your truest and deepest longing—to love and accept yourself exactly as you are. And yet there is a subtle but very powerful belief inside of many of us that says because we have made mis-takes and have done unskillful things in our lives, we are not worthy of our own kindness. But we all make mistakes and we all do unskillful things for every human being is a mixture of dark and light! The most wonderful quality of true kindness is that it doesn’t see through the lens of good/bad, right/wrong. It is inclusive. It accepts you exactly as you are.
What would happen if:
♦ you weren’t judgmental about how much your mind judges yourself and others?
♦ you weren’t ashamed at how much self-interest and self-pity at times move through your mind?
♦ when loneliness came, you didn’t fall into it? Instead, you breathed into it, touching it with tenderness?
♦ rather than being afraid of your fear, you said “hello” to it?
♦ when anger, irritation and even aggressiveness show up, rather than being lost in them, you touched them with kindness?
♦ you enfolded sadness with caring rather than being pulled into its world?
♦ rather than closing your heart to envy or jealousy, you touched them with compassion?
♦ you recognized that your mind is at times competitive? Maybe not as much as some, and maybe more than others, but it’s there inside of you, as it is with all people.
♦ you saw the compulsive nature of your mind—whether it’s around busyness, sex, food, alcohol, drugs or struggle itself—and rather than going to war with it, you met it with your heart?
♦ you knew that it is okay for doubt, confusion, dread, greed, anxiousness, or even revenge to show up?
♦ you understood that to become whole means meeting everything about yourself with kindness and understanding?
The more you allow your thoughts and feelings to be here, not giving them power by falling into them or resisting, the less they control you. Or as a friend once said, “Acceptance is magic!”
What would it be like if, just for today, you held the intention to be kind to yourself? This can be challenging in the beginning because we are all so used to putting ourselves out of our own hearts! In fact, your mind may not only resist being kind to you, but it also may do the opposite, judging yourself for not being able to be kind with yourself! But let that show you how deeply you have been conditioned to put yourself out of your own heart.
If you want to make a difference in your life, in your family’s lives and, in the world, be kind with yourself. For the truest love you share with the world comes from meeting yourself in your own heart.
I leave you with a quote from Henry James:
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
Remember, one of the most healing things you can do is to be kind with you!
SF Source Mary O’Malley Jan 2019