When I was in the 5th grade, I was awarded the Lions Club Citizenship award for Kindness. I was probably wearing leg warmers when I accepted the medal, and I know I had a home perm…hello child of the 1980s!
Thankfully I’m no longer wearing leg warmers, and it’s safe to say that my home perm days are behind me. What remains, though, is kindness. No matter what stage in my life, what fashion trend I’m observing or what I’m doing with my hair, kindness is there.
Kindness is a value I hold and it informs how I show up in the world. It’s always been important to me to treat others kindly, even though it took me until my 30s to extend that same consistent kindness to myself.
What’s so clear to me now, is the incredibly strong relationship between the two. The kinder I am to myself, the more kindness I’m able to extend to others. When I’m being critical of myself, I’m more critical of others. When I’m running myself ragged and not taking care of my body and mind, I’m less likely to give others the grace they deserve. When I’m holding things against myself, I’m less able to forgive others’ small slips.
Consider your own value of kindness. How do you practice it? How is it impacted by the way you’re treating yourself? When you learn to recognize the relationship between kindness to others and self-kindness, you gain a whole new level of understanding, so the next time you notice yourself being unusually critical of others, take a look at how you’re treating yourself.