“Welcome to the Pity Party Madam – Table for One?”
(don’t be cross)
It’s Random Acts of Kindness Day – which is all very nice, fluffy and tree-huggy.
Don’t worry – I won’t be any of those things.
If these last 12 months have taught us anything, it is to be kind.
The highlights in our Worlds have been the little decent things people did for us.
Thoughtful messages, words, cards, presents, acts – just because they could.
Those things stick with us.
They make us feel at least as good as the people we give them to.
That stuff is easy.
That stuff is obvious.
But what we don’t seem to value at all – is Kindness to ourselves.
If what we DO, shows what our priorities are:
then self-compassion is definitely not a priority, for lots of people I hear from.
That little voice.
Your on-board git of a narrator.
Do you have one?
Is it kind?
Or is it an incessant, bitchy, critical, doubting, or frightened voice
which gets stronger like Voldemort … with every tiny negative thing anyone ever said to you.
And did it take those negative things as truth, amplify them by 10 –
and then add its own much nastier ones for good measure.
Or just sometimes?
Most people have an impressive repertoire of negative self-talk.
Ready to bust out when they have an opportunity to be happy, be bold or try something new.
“I’m such an idiot.”
“Someone like me could never do that.”
“I can’t believe I said that. Unbelievable.”
“I’m such a failure.”
“I messed that up.”
“I never stick to anything.”
“Why would anyone love me?”
“I’ll never amount to anything.”
“There’s no point in trying, I’ll probably fail.”
That above is a pity party.
I know this sounds mean (to be fair, because it is):
(And you might be cross about this)
– but that sh^t is an indulgence.
More importantly, it doesn’t help.
What a pity party does,
is single you out as being in some way a special case where the World has doled you out an unfair deal.
And it’s ‘alright’ for everyone else.
Everyone has a hard time.
Everyone is devastated by grief.
Everyone has days they feel so sad they’d prefer not to get out of bed.
Everyone has hurtful conversations and relationships.
Everyone has been let down.
Everyone gets nervous – even the people who seem like Super Heroes.
Everyone has moments of regret,
facepalms because they said something insensitive…
relives embarrassing moments at 3am…
So despite what you might think, this isn’t me saying “suck it up, Princess”.
Quite the opposite.
Once you realise that how you feel is part of the Human Condition; the Universal Human Experience…
that we literally all feel the way that you do at some point.
You realise that this is what connects us.
This is what gives us compassion.
This is what lets us ask for help, reassurance and kindness.
It might be different degrees, triggers, timing, combinations, whatever – but it’s essentially the same.
But this also is what’s going to help you give yourself a break.
To stop it.
If a friend – or probably even a random stranger – told you they had messed up the meeting,
been a bad mother for letting them have too much screen time,
had put on too much weight in lockdown,
should have ‘got over it’ by now,
or whatever horrible thing you’ve told yourself recently…
You would treat them with kindness.
You’d care about how they feel.
You’d choose kind words and speak in a kind voice.
You’d allow them the space to feel how they feel.
You’d be gentle with their feelings.
You’d find a way to help.
Not because you were tricking them, humouring them, or letting them off .
You wouldn’t just be ‘being polite’.
You’d want to.
Because it’s human nature to stop pain.
When we see pain in other people it makes us feel it too.
So on this Random Acts of Kindness Day – definitely send someone a lovely card to say you’ve been thinking of them.
Or make a casserole and take it to the lady across the road.
All of that.
It’s a great idea and will make you feel on top of the world.
I just sent a dirty joke on a postcard to someone because I know it will make them laugh.
But I would love you to take on board this completely random idea:
You are supposed to treat yourself with the kindness you keep locked away for other people.
An act of kindness to yourself is an act of kindness for everyone.
It ripples out.
It shows people they can do that too.
It IS how it works.
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