The new year is only twenty-five days old, and I have a confession to make. Thanks to a less than ideal start to 2015, I have been less than kind to myself and others. This realization has left me feeling even more guilty, stressed, and anxious, and these negative feelings have been compounded by the flu I succumbed to recently. I have found myself regretting the way the year has begun and wishing that I could either rewind 2015 or fast forward to 2016. Today, though, I found myself making peace with 2015 and my place in it, as I returned to a path of kindness.
As my physical symptoms from the flu begin to subside and the swirling negative emotions and thoughts slow to a manageable mix, I stopped wishing this year away and started refocusing on how to change it for the better for those around me and for myself. I have learned that the best way to get back on track is to return to acts of kindness, as I truly believe that kind words, acts, thoughts, and feelings have the power to transform the world and the people in it for the better. So, today, on the twenty-fifth day of January 2015, I declare a kindness do over.
For me, this kindness do over involves being kind on a variety of levels to myself and others, and since I still am quarantined at home for another day, it begins simply and rather solitarily. Yet, it begins . . .
- Think positive thoughts. This is such a basic tenet of kindness, yet it still can be a challenge for me. So, this morning, I woke up and wrapped my physical and emotional aches and pains in kind and loving words. As soon as I spoke to myself in a positive manner, I found my mood and physical condition slowly shift to a better place. Pollyanna I am not, but a kinder, gentler Kristi Jo I am at this moment.
- Stay present. This is a perfect companion for the previous act of kindness, as I recognize that if I am reliving the past or anticipating the future, I miss out on the people, places, and things before me. Giving my time and attention to the present is a precious gift indeed, and when I reined in my mind today, I found myself feeling much more focused on the positive and much less anxious and stressed about what may or may not happen in the future.
- Practice daily self-care. This means different things to different people, but for me, self-care involves exercise, healthy foods, adequate sleep, laughter, journaling, and people who inspire, motivate, support, and/or love me. Kindness, like charity, begins at home, and today, it began with hot green tea, hearty oatmeal, and a relaxing morning of reading, journaling, and writing for me. When I treat myself kindly, I find myself wanting to share that kindness with the people I encounter.
- Connect with others. I may be recovering at home again today, but I still can offer my love and support to those who are in need of a kind word, a good laugh, or some pieces of advice. Words, written and spoken, can be powerful change agents, and I hope that what I say and write encourages, educates, or entertains others when they need it. Two people who occupy space in my mind and heart were the recipients of warm thoughts, kind texts, and silent prayers on this Sunday morning, and I hope that they felt a bit better because of these gestures.
It is a brief list, but it is a good start to reclaiming this year and to extending more kindness to myself and the world around me. If nothing else, I am determined to end this month on a positive note and to ride this wave of kindness into the next eleven months. Better late than never!
Just one thing each day . . .