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Grateful for Kindness, reflection…

Kindness Challenge Week 7
Grateful for Kindness
Reflection

This weeks challenge was to be grateful for the kindness in our life; kindness witnessed, experienced or given.  Another thought was to think before going to sleep at night about the kindness we witnessed and experienced during the day and perhaps say a prayer for or send good thoughts to the people who were kind. While thinking about what I would write about for this seventh week of the challenge I had a wake up call of sorts.  I had a surprise…I didn’t like what I woke up to; light was shined on a couple of things I don’t like about myself.

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It seems it is easier for me to remember the not so kind and ugly things I witness or experience than it is to remember the kind and beautiful things.  When I think back on the day I tend to find criticism and judgment are the first thoughts to come to mind. I quickly think sarcastic and disrespectful things about the day and its happenings. After I get past the ugly then I see the beauty.  That’s not very kind of me, is it?  Should I not see the beauty the ugly tries to hide? Should I not see the beauty first?

I am truly grateful for the kindness all around me in this world that can be cold and mean.  But this week it has been a gratefulness that had to be dug out from under world’s less than wonderful atmosphere. I don’t know, maybe this week with it’s not so stellar days simply got to me and I let negativity take hold. Whatever the reason it saddens me to know that the week though filled with kindness seen and experienced I allowed the good to be overshadowed by the not so good.

Last week is over and done and cannot be changed. Lessons were learned and I am humbled. This week is just beginning and I am grateful for the new days. New days to witness, experience, and give kindness; new days to see beauty even when it is hidden or disguised; new days to bow my head and say thank you.

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Kindness Without Expectation, reflection…

Kindness Challenge, week 6
Kindness Without Expectation
Reflection

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There are times I extend kindness without expecting anything in return.  If I open a door or hold the elevator for someone, let the UPS or Fedex driver or mail carrier in the building so they don’t have wait to be let in I just do it because I am there and it’s something I can do. If I am pleasant to people who are being rude it’s because I don’t know what is going on in that person’s life and I know that sometimes it’s just a bad day, I have those days, too.  The kindness given is really done without thought or expectation.

There are kindnesses that I extend that though I would not be hurt or angry if I didn’t get a thank you I would be surprised.  Truthfully, I can’t think of a time that I have done something for someone, taking a meal to them, helping with a chore, listening when they need to be heard, assisting them with something they can’t do themselves, that I didn’t get a thank you and a smile in return.

I have so many people in my life that give so much to me and make my life so full of happiness and joy. I have found that the best way to share those gifts is to give to others. It’s a wonderful endless circle of kindness without expectation.

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Choosing Kindness, reflection…

Kindness Challenge, week 5
Choosing Kindness
Reflection

For the most part, it easy to be kind; to smile and say hello to someone you pass while walking or at the mall or grocery store.  It’s not difficult to pick up something someone dropped or get something off a high shelf for someone who can’t reach it. Little acts of kindness are easy to do.

Some difficult things are easy to do when you are doing them for someone you care about or have empathy for and understand why they need help. To send cards or flowers, take a meal to them, go to the grocery or pharmacy to get what is needed, do the laundry or straighten up the kitchen, be encouraging or just be there to listen to them.  When love is the motivation kindness is not difficult.

It is easy to be kind…except when it isn’t.

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We sometimes have to choose to be kind. When we are busy and have a lot on our mind and in a hurry it’s a choice to smile and pass the time of day, to help someone struggling to get on the bus with an arm full of packages, let someone go ahead of you in line at the bank, post office or store. It’s inconvenient to be kind sometimes but does that make it any less important?

When we hear of an illness, accident or death and it doesn’t concern someone we know well or involves someone we don’t care for it takes extra effort to help them and to be kind. If a person needs kindness does it matter whether or not we like them or their lifestyle or beliefs, whether or not they have good hygiene or clean clothes?

In her Challenge post for this week, Niki included this quote:

It’s not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not.  We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even – or rather, especially – when we’d prefer not to be.
Josh Radnor

It may not be easy but it is simple…
love one another.

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Self-Compassion, reflection…

Kindness Challenge Week 2
Self-Compassion
Reflection

This week we were to pay attention to the way you treat yourself and the things you say to yourself both spoken and unspoken. Notice what your default reaction is when you struggle, make a mistake, or fall short.  Write down the words you say, the phrases that cross your mind, the way you react, and how you respond to yourself.” (Niki)

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Well, this was an eye-opening week for me and I am going to be very open and transparent here and tell you like it is. Some of it is sad but it has a happy ending so read on to the end.

The word I say most often to myself is stupid. When I make a mistake I say stupid. When I forget or misplace something I say stupid.  Really, stupid? What’s with that? The word makes me feel bad about myself even though I know it isn’t true. It makes me angry.

There is a phrase I use a lot, you will never…get over what happened, forget the embarrassment of, feel well, be rested, start or finish a project, learn something new, catch up with the blogs you follow…the list goes on. Of course, the negatives are self-defeating. Why do I think like this? Did I always have this mindset? Where did it come from? The phrase makes me angry with myself and depresses me.

“We all have a tape that plays in our heads, but at some point, the voice on that tape came from somewhere outside of us. I want to gently encourage you to identify the inner voice that challenges you the most. How far back does this tape go? Where did that voice originate from? Is that tape helpful? At some point, that voice stops coming from someone else and continues to speak as our own inner voice. How much of what you say today is attributed to that voice?” (Niki)

I know where the word and phrase come from…my childhood. Whenever I would want to do something new or have a plan or dream I would share I was told not to be stupid, you can’t, people will laugh at you, you don’t know how to, they won’t let you, you will never do that. I know that many ideas and dreams when young are part of exploring the world and your part in it and many will not happen but thinking and dreaming should be talked about and encouraged.

We are asked,How would you treat a loved one in that situation?” (Niki) First, I would listen carefully.  I would ask questions to see where these thoughts are coming from, why they are so strong and invasive. I would try to help them know the truth and encourage them to see the reality, not the lies. That’s what I am trying to do for myself.

How will I move on and be compassionate with myself? When stupid is my response to a thought or action I will tell myself the truth, I am smart and talented. When I tell myself you will never…I will ask myself, why not? Do you want this, who is stopping you, is what other people think so important that it negates what you think?  I will tell myself you can if you want to and I will learn to be open with trusted friends and ask for help when I need it.
                                                            I can and I will!

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Self-Love, reflection…

Kindness Challenge Week 1
Self-Love
Reflection

I think we all struggle to some extent with self-love.  I think we are often taught that loving yourself is not a good thing and that loving yourself is thinking you are better than others.  True self-love is not an ego trip. It is simply allowing yourself to be who you are, accepting all the bits and pieces that make you real.

I did not have much in the way of self-love as a child and young woman. I was raised not to make waves, to be quiet and keep what I thought and my opinions to myself. I really didn’t allow myself to be me. I did whatever I could to be like everyone else, to fit in. When I realized I wasn’t ever going to be like everyone else there was some serious rebellion that happened. That didn’t work either.  I was miserable.

I didn’t like myself. I certainly didn’t love myself. What I did know was that things had to change. It took time, a lot of work and tears…and a good bit of laughter. I learned that I am a little different in some ways and a lot different in others and it’s okay. I am not worthless. I am a good person.

This week while pondering self-love I realized I still have times when I really don’t love myself. Those are the days when I tell myself lies about myself. I tell myself I am stupid, ugly, have no talent, no friends, no one cares about me…all lies! This kind of thinking doesn’t happen often and when it does it is usually when I am not feeling well and dealing with chronic issues that are troublesome and tiring. Of course, this is when self-love is most needed and is most often denied.

I didn’t think I had a mantra but while pondering self-love I realized I do have one. When I start telling myself lies about myself I look in the mirror and say;

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You are who you are and that is something to celebrate.
The little part of the world you inhabit needs you.
Go be who you are and do what only you can do.
That is why You are here.

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