Serve Yourself a Little Kindness
Kindness—sometimes just hearing the word softens us. Say the word out loud and notice if your shoulders don’t relax a little.
During this challenging and uncertain time, kindness offers us an easy, always-ready tool for helping ourselves navigate our days.
So, what is kindness exactly?
Some may think kindness is:
• Being nice
• Using good manners
While all of these acts can be accompanied by kindness, NONE OF THEM necessarily demonstrate kindness. The intention behind the action is what matters.
Kindness suggests an intrinsic caring behind our actions. Think of kindness as a muscle that we need to exercise and develop, directing its strength towards ourselves as much as towards others.
Nobody was prepared for this global pandemic. This is uncharted territory for each of us. Suddenly being out of work, staying at home all day, and perhaps having to ask for help can all bring out our harshest self-critics, provoking guilt and anxiety.
Regardless of your circumstances, your self-worth in inherent, and now more than ever you deserve great kindness.
Start your self-kindness strategy now with 3 easy steps!
1. Try beginning every day by reminding yourself that you are good. Regardless of your imperfections and “not-so-nice” thoughts or acts, there is an untouchable goodness inside of you. Just ask yourself how you would speak to a friend that you love dearly and think highly of—that you really feel caring for—and speak to yourself in that way.
• If you woke up feeling great, tell yourself, “I am so glad you are feeling good today.”
• If you woke up feeling awful, tell yourself, “Man, this feels really hard, and that’s ok. I’m here for you.”
This may sound silly or hokey to some, while others may love it and add it to their daily morning routine. Regardless, it works. And you can continue to be kind to yourself throughout the day.
2. Kindly take an inventory of your needs. What needs are you able to meet? Can you offer yourself kindness, healing, or emotional regulation strategies right now? What does your support network look like and how can you ask for help? Get clear on your needs, remember your worth, and ask for help where you need it. Many therapists and coaches are offering their services on a sliding scale, artists are offering concerts, and in general, a lot people are trying to give what they can. Tap into that.
3. Kindly take an inventory of your privilege. Make a list.
• What are you fortunate to have?
• Is there anything that you can do for others right now?
And keep in mind, this is not the time to be harsh with yourself about the worth of your offerings either. Perhaps you can’t pay for all of your neighbors’ groceries, but you can offer a listening ear. Maybe you can’t serve up a cocktail, but you can pass a few loved-ones some low-alcohol cocktail recipes.
We all know that when we are behind the bar, practicing kindness can become one of the greatest joys. When you give and serve with kindness, you feel good, whether it is reciprocated or not. When it is appreciated, you feel even better, of course. And when it is reciprocated, well, there is your dose of that human connection that brain science, religion, and psychology all say is fundamental to our well-being as humans.
Remember, at work or at home, it’s not so much about the act itself, but the intention behind it. And every time you are kind, generous, forgiving, and supportive of yourself, you practice how to be all of these things for others. And vice versa. If you are being offered kindness, take it in, accept it fully, and remind yourself that you are worthy of it, simply because you are.
We could all use a little more kindness right now.