One of the best ways to offer our Thanksgiving and our Gratitude for the life’s blessings is to be the hand of Kindness to those we meet on our personal journey, remembering that WE are also on that journey!
Though we may find it easy to be kind to the clerk at the grocery store or the receptionist at the doctor’s office, we may find it much more difficult to be kind to ourselves- often without realizing just how cruel we are in our inner chatter and simple verbiage. Though I am aware of how easy it is to talk poorly to ourselves, it was not until I became aware of my own inner language that I realized just how toxic- and how sizable- the impact that negative mind chatter has on our hearts and our mind; really on our overall physical and emotional balance. I teach at a small personal training studio where I hear daily the simple ways that we talk unkindly to ourselves. With one quick thought about hair, body type, clothing style or complexion (or anything else your mind can dream up) our thoughts and feelings can spiral into a downfall of words and thoughts that we might NEVER in a million years speak to someone we love or care about!
The art of being kind extends far beyond no hitting, no fighting, no spitting, no biting. The art of being kind extends into our thoughts, our awareness, and our actions. I have seen this checklist when deciding if the thoughts in our mind deserve to be given vocal dialog- remembering that the advice pertains to things we say about and TO ourselves!
- Is it KIND
- Is it TRUE
- Is it HELPFUL
- When the answer to #2 and #3 is “Yes”, always refer back to #1. If the answer is NO, then no amount of Yes to 1 and 2 can override a NO to item #1!
As a yoga teacher and wellness coach, I remind friends, family, and clients to be aware of mind chatter and the thoughts that we allow to spill out into our self-talk. While teaching a mindful awareness class, I am amazed how quickly a student can lose their balance when looking in the mirror and instructed to give thought to what they see!
Though I am aware of how easy it is to talk poorly to ourselves, I hadn’t realized how much of an impact this negative mind chatter has on our hearts and our minds: on our overall physical and emotional balance, until I watched it play out on a yoga mat! The physical body collapses out of its strength and balance when self judgement or criticism enters the mind. As I watched this happen ON the yoga mat, I became curious as to how this translated OFF the yoga mat?? As I started to pay close attention to the days I talk kindly to myself and the days that I allow doubts, fears, concerns, and abuse to enter my mind- I realized a few critical factors to my overall joy and happiness in life:
- I became aware that my ability to plan and prioritize my day was directly related to the first few thoughts that I gave attention to in the morning. I am much more organized on the days that I begin with a simple praise
- I realized that I cross more things off my list when I am talking kindly- maybe related to the first, but I think planning and accomplishing are two totally different list items
- I eat better when I am talking nicely about my weight or appearance
- I get outside and enjoy a walk or a simple moment of relaxation on my back porch
- I enjoy my time with my family more when I am talking nicely to myself
- I serve more
- I give myself more time to study, read, or simply BE when I feel good about WHO I am!
So I ask you, when you last looked in the mirror, what did you SAY to yourself? What did you THINK of your yourself? Out of the gate, First thing in the morning- what are your thought and feelings about your weight, your looks, your life??
Do you feel so drowned in the day to day that you feel your reach is minimal at best?
When you last got dressed, what did you think of your outfit or the fluff you might have found on your belly?
Have you wondered if your efforts as a parent are ENOUGH?
Have you wondered if YOU are ENOUGH…
Very often, as a yoga class is coming to an end, I will guide my students through a series of three reclined child’s postures and two twists, one to the left and one to the right. In reclined child’s pose, I suggest that we pause for a silent affirmation, something we needed or wanted to hear in the day, week, or month but did not; suggesting that some of our most needed words of kindness, love, and acceptance must come from ourselves.
Consider pausing for a moment, right now, and take a seated rest. You can sit outside, in your bedroom, or in your favorite space. But sit for a few moments. Let your head fall to the right and allow your neck to stretch a little- say something nice to YOU! Let your head fall to the left and allow the right side to stretch a little- say something nice to YOU! And now, simply sit, eyes relaxed and body still- say something nice to YOU!!!
The first time we talk nice to ourselves, we feel like a fraud. The second time we talk nice to ourselves, we feel like a liar! The third time we say something nice- we BELIEVE it!
We are our own worst critics and our own worst enemy… but these harmful words we say to ourselves have more impact than we realize. With each criticism or cutting dialog we give to ourselves, we dampen our own light that shines from within. This light not only guides us but allows us to guide those in our circle. A candle under a bushel does no good to those struggling to find their way! A candle held under a bushel, will eventually burn the basket or worse, lose its flame.