Being Kind to Yourself
I’m not gonna lie. In all the years I’ve been choosing My One Word, I’ve never done this. Are you ready to know what that is? I’ve never switched my word after choosing one. But this year? This year it’s different.
My original word was BREATHE. Breathe because I’ve been feeling like I’m running on fumes. Breathe because while my exterior is calm my interior is spinning. Breathe because sometimes I need to take a breathe and rest from the hamster wheel of life.
As I write this I’m flying home from a week long Enneagram coaching intensive program. I spent the week with 24 strangers learning about myself, about the Enneagram, and more about coaching.
In the middle of this week-long intensive, came some intensity and inner work that was unexpected. I learned a few things about myself. I’m not as far in my spiritual and emotional health journey as I thought I was. I have some work to do to get out of my head and into my heart. I have some work to do about trusting my decisions and thoughts instead of second guessing.
And from all this learning, came an over arching theme for my week. Kindness. Kindness because God was so kind to me this week. Kindness because others displayed kindness in ways I didn’t expect. Kindness because I was challenge to be kinder to myself.
And from that theme came a new word for my year. KINDNESS.
And I’m wondering about you today? Are you kind to yourself? Do you receive God’s kindness toward you? Are you kind to others? The most challenging of those for me as a Enneagram Type 3? Being kind to myself. Appreciating all of me instead of the parts of me that have succeeded. And no matter what your Enneagram Type (if you’re familiar with the 9 types), I think we could all use a little more self-kindness.
So if you’re wondering about kindness and being kind to yourself, I have some thoughts for us today.
I read Remember God by Annie F. Downs earlier this year. In her book, she posed a question. She knew God was good, but was He kind. It’s an interesting question, isn’t it?
Her conclusion by the end was that God is kind. His mercies are new every morning. But for some of us, we don’t always receive his kindness. We forget about his kindness and hop on the hamster wheel of life. Trying to achieve. Trying to be good. Trying to be enough.
All the while, God is waiting for us to receive his kindness to us. Through His Word as He reminds us that we are loved. Through others as He reminds us of His grace. Through prayer as we’re reminded of His presence.
Kindness starts with God’s kindness.
The kindness of others
God shows his kindness to us through our people. People who have chosen to be kind to us. People who have reminded us that God is gentle with us. Drawing us into relationship with Him. Drawing us into His grace. Drawing us into trust and connection.
This week, I met 24 strangers and left with new friends, new experiences, and a new outlook on people and myself. I am different because I chose to take a step toward people and receive their kindness. I am changed because through their eyes I saw myself and the world and God’s love.
For us to experience kindness, we must trust our people to be kind.
Kindness to ourselves
True confession? I’m typically hard on myself. In my efforts to be helpful, a team player, and be loved, I tend to focus on achievement and the things I do. Which all lends me to some self-assessment.
My Enneagram Type (type 3) as I learned this week has a predisposition to being hard on self - so I come by it naturally. But I’m guessing that all 9 types can be unkind to themselves. We can focus on our mistakes, how we would do things differently, and even how we can do it better the next time. All the while, forgetting what’s great and amazing about us.
Through God’s kindness and the kindness of others, I was given a gift. A gift to choose kindness. A gift to start clapping for the things about me that I don’t always appreciate. A gift to choose to love who God created me to be.
Since the beginning of December this quote has been rolling around in my head. I’m learning to love the parts of my that no one else is clapping for.
Here’s where I’m starting. Asking one simple question every morning.
How can I be kind to myself today?
Let’s try it together and see how kindness changes us from the inside out.