Something beautiful unfolds in the moments of Spirit’s kindness interweaving with self- kindness. Possibility emerges, softness creates welcome.
Why can it be so difficult for us to be kind to ourselves?
I notice that it’s something that comes up in Spiritual Direction frequently. It seems possible for us to accept the kindness of the Spirit and even kindness from others, but to extend that same dignity to ourselves can be much more unfamiliar. I’m often gently helping people see how harsh they can be with themselves and when I ask if they would treat others in the way they treat themselves they of course say no.
One of the most concise definitions of the word kindness is “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate”.
I’m drawn to the word generous in this definition, generosity speaks of expansiveness, space, freedom. It has the sense of creativity about it, of joy and playfulness. To lack in generosity feels small and mean, it offers little freedom and closes down possibility. It creates a clinging, grasping stance that causes us to fight for what we need rather than receive it as a gift.
When we’re unable to join with Holy Spirit and share her kindness towards ourselves we’re not extending generosity. In doing so we’re in danger of closing down space, possibility and freedom. We may be keeping ourselves small and unworthy, thse can be good hiding places! The default towards self-harshness that seems so prevalent these days communicates to ourselves that we are unworthy, of little value and unimportant. These will ALWAYS be untrue stories that we make up about who we are and our value in this world. We assume that we don’t deserve kindness when others do, as if there’s only so much to go around.
When I sit with those I accompany and we offer space to kindness, it’s wonderful to see what happens. Something beautiful unfolds in the moments of Spirit’s kindness interweaving with self- kindness. Possibility emerges, softness creates welcome. A space is created that welcomes me to come just as I am – whatever that looks like. Then, when I sit in a space that allows me to be exactly as I am, a space free from harshness, I am open to receive what I need. Healing can flow, desire can rise, transformation can take place.
There is no judgement in kindness, only acceptance. There are no should, oughts, not-enoughs, you need to be stronger, have it together, behave better, achieve more, not be weak, be less, be more, be different, be what you aren’t or cannot be. Kindness eradicates all of the narratives that can play repeatedly in our ears about who we are and need to be. Kindness simply welcomes us as we are and says that how and who we are in that moment is enough.
I’m sure we all have enough reminders that life is hard, being human is not easy and that the journey through this earth is not a walk in the park. We are faced with challenges, heartbreaks, catastrophes and difficulties and then we heap self-harshness on top of all this.
I want to invite us all to remember kindness, to choose kindness, to allow self-kindness to be present whatever our situation. Let’s weave our hearts with the Spirit’s and let her teach us how to offer the extravagance of generous kindness towards ourselves as well as others. Let it bring its gift, let it envelop us, let it change us. It’s a small word with a lot of weight and it’s one that every human on the planet deserves to experience.