Kindness is contagious
Kindness is free and contagious—take it in so you can pass it on!
What we focus on expands. If we want more happiness in our life, we need to pay attention to the things that bring us joy. What are your first thoughts when you awake in the morning or the middle of the night? Are the words you speak to yourself kind or cruel?
Is your internal dialog limiting your personal growth and joy? For example, do you say things to yourself you wouldn't say to a friend? If we're saying mean stuff between our ears, is it less likely we'll say nice things in other ears?
What would your life look like if you considered yourself your own best friend, the love of your life? What changes would you make if you treated yourself with the same kindness you treat your friends?
Even if you must fake it until you make it in the beginning, treating yourself kindly and talking to yourself encouragingly will positively and quickly improve your life!
A good practice is to start your day when you wake up in the morning with intention by saying kind words to yourself. It's okay if you wake up already thinking something "off"—say STOP, and let any negativity leave. Then replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.
Oh my gosh, I didn't sleep at all. Today's going to be awful. I feel gross. What on earth am I going to find to wear? I think I gained five pounds yesterday; what was I thinking? Why would I eat those chips!
New thought process—
STOP! I got plenty of sleep. Something extraordinary is going to happen today. It already did! I woke up! I'm going to drink a little lemon water to flush out my system, start my day off right, and maybe take a quick walk around the block to get my blood flowing. Today is a new day!
Challenge yourself to seek out goodness. Instead of focusing on what's not working as planned, shift your attention to the good. Look around you and make a quick list of obvious things. You won't have to go far to find them. I've listed some starter examples below, but please use your own or what resonates with you:
Ideas of things you might acknowledge:
- I like my smile–thank you for these beautiful choppers.
- Thank you, hands, for helping me get ready this morning!
- Thank you, taste buds, for letting me enjoy this delicious coffee!
- Thank you, organs, for doing such a great job. I appreciate the hard work!
- Thank you, feet, for getting me where I need to go!
- I love my sheets and am so grateful for this bed!
- I love my plants. They're gorgeous.
- It's so wonderful having a car to take me to work.
- Thank you, sun, for shining, or thank you, rain, for water.
- This warm shower feels like heaven.
- I can't wait to see what marvelous things will happen today.
- Thank you, thank you, thank you for this beautiful day!
- I deserve all the great things in life!
- What miracles are waiting for me this morning?
- Today, I'm going to challenge myself to say at least five kind things to people.
When I'm down on myself or in a rut, I find and remember all the reasons I'm grateful for my life. I'm not saying we should bypass our emotions. Honestly, nothing is more important than feeling our feelings and working through them.
However, some of us tend to say terrible things to ourselves. It might not even be how we truly feel. It could be an old pattern, something our parents said to themselves that we picked up, old messaging we might not realize we're repeating, or the unnecessary damage it's inflicting on our psyche.
Words matter. When we make a mistake and say, "I'm so stupid, why did I do that?" we inadvertently or intentionally reinforce our perceived inadequacy. If these words slip out, it is vital to catch them, acknowledge the old behavior, and support new positive messaging. You can start with, "That's okay. Mistakes happen; I'll do better next time!"
Some of us have spent years of self-scolding. Unfortunately, it’s sabotaging our present-day happiness. The ideas and exercises I've laid out in this article can help us recognize our "autopilot" thoughts: the things we say without consideration.
The next time you think something unkind in your head, ask yourself if you would say that to your best friend. Next, reconsider saying those things to yourself and intentionally change the narrative. You deserve the best. Treat yourself with love and respect. Start with yourself, and be the hero in your own story.
Then it’s easy to give massive quantities of kindness back to the world with your thoughts, actions, and words. Kindness is free, contagious, and changes the outcome of your day.