These days it may be easy to forget about kindness. The media shows us all that is wrong with the world, and the news on social media can often separate and discourage us. But there is good news. Kindness is happening everywhere; we just need to remember to notice it.
Every day a teacher goes in to work with their students, that is a day filled with acts of kindness. The doctors and nurses that are caring for our friends and families in hospitals around the country are performing heroic acts of kindness for 12 hours at a time. Firefighters, police officers and EMTs are answering our calls and showing up for us. There are neighbors helping each other, families fostering and adopting kids, animal lovers rescuing dogs and cats, and strangers volunteering at shelters. There are people hosting displaced families, parents helping other parents with childcare, and kind people in stores ready to help us find what we are looking for. We are listening to each other and caring for each other with patience and understanding. Millions donate on funding sites to help strangers, and many commit their time and resources to finding new ways that support all. Kindness is all around us, and we can find it if we are looking.
Make it your goal to notice and spread kindness. Each kind word counts. Each kind act counts. Appreciate others for what they do, and lend a hand when you can. If we can practice, notice, talk about, and celebrate kindness, we will feel better and more hopeful, and we will be part of the change we wish to see.
by Lisa Litzsinger
This is a wonderful time of year. We get to imagine and hope for a brand-new year filled with the experiences and people we love the most. No matter what is happening right now, the new year brings a new start, and we are invited to consider what we would like to create and invite in for the next 12 months.
We are all familiar with New Year’s Resolutions, and the push to be better in some way; more disciplined perhaps, or more efficient, to eat differently or exercise more. Though we know — and most gyms will confirm — that the excitement is usually over by the end of January, most of us will still come up with 1 or 2 things we promise to do.
Along with those promises, or instead of them, consider the simple commitment to Love Yourself More. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity -- this is an active commitment. You will likely get the chance to do this on a daily basis, and if done well you will not want to quit by the end of January.
Here are some suggestions for this resolution:
Let no negative self-talk pass through your mind unnoticed. Challenge each and every thought about yourself that is less than kind, and consider if there is truth to it or if it has simply been told to you or repeated so many times in your head that it feels true. If untrue, banish it. If it warrants consideration, love yourself as you are and then decide if you would like to show up differently.
Tell the truth to yourself and others. Are there things you do that you really don’t want to do? Do you ignore that small inner voice that says “No” when you are saying “Yes”? Do you deny your preferences and go along with the requests of others because it’s easier? Do you have feelings that you never share? This is not a vote for selfishness -- it is an invitation to ask yourself “what do I really like/want/need/prefer, and how would I like to do more of that?" Often the people in your life who love you will support you and be happy to help.
Be patient with yourself -- especially now. It has been a tough few years in so many ways, and many of us are having trouble being our best selves. We may be more emotional, feel angrier or frustrated with others, or be using food or online entertainment to soothe and escape. A promise of greater self-love says “I recognize this behavior, and I love and forgive myself for it.” Sending love to yourself will often make space to feel or behave differently when you are ready.
Treat yourself as you would your best friend or your child. Most of us find it easy to be kind, compassionate, and unconditionally loving to our children and good friends. Yet with ourselves we may be neglectful, judgmental, and disregarding. Accept and honor your needs and your deepest desires (which are often hiding beneath anger at others). Some say that the core of anger is a need unmet. When we get in touch with these needs, anger will often dissipate, and we will have more energy to create and attract happiness.
In case you were taught that taking care of others is more important that self-care, please be assured that the more we love ourselves, the more love we have to share and the better we are as partners, parents, siblings, or friends.
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2022. May Love and Peace begin with you and spread out in all directions, with the hope that everyone catches it.
— Lisa Litzsinger
Words from Sagewood Practitioners
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