Kindfulness incorporates the two most important things that I have learned on my journey to self-love. It includes:
• Kindness. Not only to one's self but to others, and
• Mindfulness. A psychological process used to bring the busy mind back to the present moment in a non-judgemental way.
I’m not sure about you, but I feel like the world has gone a little crazy! Turn on the nightly news and you’re bound to hear about all that is bad in the world. Jump onto social media and you’re bombarded with friends and family posting photos and updates of their ‘perfect’ lives.
Cue the inevitable shame spiral. Feelings of hopelessness for all that’s wrong in the world. Feelings of unworthiness because the comparison bug has got you down.
No wonder mental health issues are at an all-time high. It’s almost impossible to escape the madness some days. But you know what? We can.
And it’s as simple as being kind to both ourselves and to others.
Somewhere along the way we’ve adopted judgement as the norm.
If we disagree with someone’s negative thoughts or poor behaviour, we assume others are acting at their worst. When we fail to meet our own expectations or those of society, we push ourselves harder and don’t stop until we succeed. We spend hours critiquing and evaluating what others are doing. Or what we are not doing. All this negativity is spreading like the plague. We judge ourselves for missing a day of exercise or eating a piece of cake. Our inner critic tells us we are inadequate, a failure. We lose our shit at the guy who cuts us off in traffic (guilty!) or criticise our partner when they haven’t met our expectations.
When we let our inner critic come out to play we are less tolerant of other’s differences, jealous of other’s successes, and easily frustrated at the slightest inconveniences which can often turn into anger or aggressive behaviour.
But how do we tame the beast that is known as judgement? We kill it with kindness.
I attribute my mental health recovery and journey to self-acceptance to dedicated practice of both self-compassion and mindfulness. Both of which we should all learn, regardless of the status of your mental health. It is something we can all do, no matter your age, gender, race or religion.
You don’t need to be ‘good’ at mediating – a common misconception of mindfulness. You just need the willingness to make some positive, healthy changes to your life and a bit of dedication and perseverance.
By practising kindfulness daily, we can begin to soften the voice of our inner critic and replace it with our inner-kindness. When our inner critic is no longer the voice of reason, we can start connecting with our true selves. We start feeling empowered and begin to release the judgement that has been holding us back. This includes both judgement towards ourselves and others. Not only will you feel happier releasing judgement and criticisms, you will gain more energy to focus on more important things in life.
Go on, add a little kindfulness to your life today!