"Just be kind. It sounds so easy doesn’t it? In fact it shouldn’t really require any explanation at all. But it can actually be surprisingly difficult at times. Life takes over, we get too busy, our thoughts and emotions become overwhelming and we lose touch with that innate ability to be kind. At other times we simply forget to be kind.
And this is an important point. Because kindness is less about trying to do so something, or trying to be a certain type of person, and more about simply allowing yourself the time and space to do what comes naturally. Sure, it may require a little effort at first...a gentle nudge here and there, but before long it will be effortless, just in the same way that awareness becomes effortless when you’re more mindful in life.
An aspect of kindness which is often overlooked is being kind to oneself. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty difficult to feel happy and to want to be kind to others, if you are always being heavily critical or judgmental of yourself. I’m not talking about being kind to yourself in terms of going out and buying yourself a big present (then again, why not?) but rather the tone and quality of your internal dialogue.
We live in a world with such high expectations that many people berate themselves for even the slightest thing. Whether it’s being unforgiving about a mistake they’ve made, or getting frustrated at the thoughts and emotions which arise in the mind (and their inability to control those thoughts and feelings), all of this leaves very little room for kindness.
Kindness makes the mind softer, more malleable and far easier to work with in meditation - not to mention being that much nicer for those around you. It also creates an environment in which the mind is less judgmental and more accepting of you exactly as you are. The inevitable consequence is that you’ll be more accepting of others, less critical of others and, ultimately, kinder to others too.
So try committing a few acts of random kindness today. Whether it’s towards yourself or towards others (or preferably both), see what a difference a simple act of kindness can make to your day."
This post was originally featured on the Headspace Blog
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