World Kindness Day is an international holiday that was formed in 1998, to promote kindness throughout the world and is observed annually on November 13 as part of the World Kindness Movement.
Those are the first four paragraphs I wrote for the World Kindness Day post I put up last year; you can read the post in its entirety here to find out how I practice self-kindness.
The plan was always to put up another post on this day with the same angle of being kind to yourself, but sina content of my own 😐 I mean, I wrote 930 words about being kind to yourself from my perspective and not much has changed in the 365 days since I put up the post.
So I put out a call to action asking people to send me snippets of how they practise self-kindness. What is interesting about the snippets I received is … well, two things:
- Not a single one was from a male.
2. Almost all of them had to do with self-care.
At first I was like hmmm … but when I thought about it, it makes sense because self-kindness involves generating feelings of care and comfort toward oneself.
Once again thank you to everyone who sent me their snippets. (NB the snippet comes first then the sender’s name … that’s what she said. Lol.) I definitely picked up a number of things that I will add to my repertoire.
So without further ado:
I practice kindness through acquired discipline and being aware of my surroundings in every way. I listen to my heart a lot and what my inner being is saying to me and I most often act on it. The peace I feel after is my best definition of self-kindness.
Self-kindness for me entails doing stuff that makes my soul shine. Such as eating a food I have been craving for so long, sleeping extra hours, turning off my data so that I can have time out, cutting out people who drain my energy levels ☺
I practice self-kindness by always enjoying my own company most times after realizing how people can switch up on your even people who you once called best friends. So I always take myself for dates once in a while.
In my relations to my ‘love life’ it did not sail too well for me … never ever thought in life I’d chase after a man for months. But I accepted everything and also it made me kill my idle moments by going to the gym.
And every obstacle I go through I decided not to stress too much and just go with the flow and I believe the universe always finds a way to align you to what’s best for you.
Well, I have a reputation
Of being a late night destination
Like I’m some kind of vacation
For lost souls
My door is always open
They come in lonely, they come in broken
To figure out where they’re going
Then they go
And when they don’t need me no more
I’m left sweeping up the floor
My heart is a bar and I’m closing it down
So find somewhere else to get drunk in this town
I’m tired of being a shoulder and never having one around
My heart is a bar and I’m closing, I’m closing it down
That song (My Heart Is a Bar by Old Dominion) describes where I am currently in my life. My self-kindness acts are about me loving myself more and taking time out from everything else that defines me; mom, sister, friend, employee … and allow myself to be just me.
It means spending more time alone (Artcaffe Westgate is a favourite), losing track of time and refocusing my life/taking stock of what is working and what isn’t, getting lost in my notebook, listening to Brett Young and Luke Combs.
I am currently also planning a solo trip for New Years.
I’ve thought really hard about the self-care thing. A little too hard if anything … I either window shop (thanks to online shopping) or put on a sing along/dance playlist and clean.
And I (re) watch HIMYM
For me I need to take care of my inner and outer self. Outer self-care is of course when I get to be girlie and do my hair, nails, facial, waxing. Buy a nice outfit, or shoes or even home stuff nowadays. Go for a walk, steam or get a massage. I can go on and on.
For my inner self it’s when my mind is at ease that’s with family, my boyfriend, friends, or by myself watching a marathon of shows or really good movies.
I only began to actively practise self-kindness not too long ago. I was away from family and friends for a period of time and realised how much I was being unkind to self and it had become a norm. It was definitely hard to start being kind to self, especially after not ever practising it before. I am still struggling with it, but I have the bestest best friend anyone could ever ask for. She is always reminding me not to be too hard on myself and to just do what feels right and natural … lead an authentic life, nourish authentic relationships. Anyway, I digress.
My practise on self-kindness is a mix of do’s and don’ts.
I have learnt to say no and be okay with it, creating boundaries with myself, my family, my friends, my job. That way I don’t burn out or harbour resentment. I have learnt to be okay with the fact that I can miss out on a few things just for peace of mind. That does not mean I love or care for the people in my life any less. I have just learnt to choose me more.
Because of always being there for people as described above, it then leads to being fully self-sufficient and with that, it becomes mind-numbing when I think about asking for help. It is like pulling teeth. It. Is. Hard. But I am learning to ask and accept help, because hey, no human is an island and once in a while, you can be off your game and need some push. Plus, I thrive in the fact that someone can ask me for anything, absolutely anything and I always have an answer or solution. It could be tack pins, I got it! It could be dental floss, I got that too! It could be some information about something random, well I am your girl! Although I must admit, I don’t have floppy-disk hiding somewhere in my jacket full of tricks.
Another way I practise self-kindness is taking time to treat myself … this is my best one! I have loved spoiling myself. Be it dinners, lunches, movies, shopping for something fancy, going on holiday! Name it! All have been amazing. Especially when I combine it with taking a time-out for myself. Hence, combining a holiday treat and making it a solo-holiday. Love love love it! Although, I have not done that in a while, my S.O does not understand the concept. He is like, if you’re going! I am coming with. What is this nonsense of you’re taking time away, away from what? Me? No. I am still trying to convince him. In the meantime, time outs have been taken in my apartment with wine and sinful food.
Fourthly, I have to seriously learn how to celebrate my achievements, no matter how small. My BFF is always reminding me to do so. This falls under the being hard on myself bit and never recognizing that I have milestones. And not to always criticise my mistakes, well I should but not too harshly, and learn from them, embrace the battle scars. Learn to forgive myself more, be more compassionate with myself as I am towards others. I did a 21 day Unlock Challenge with my girls and it was culminated with doing my first ever vision board. I LOVED IT! I was so pumped after the challenge and the day spent doing vision board, I ended up making a lot changes and deciding on new ways to love on me and those around me … I started writing down 3 things I am grateful for every day, reflect on my day and plans, have some quiet time, because we know how life can just come and overtake us.
Another thing my BFF complains about is that I am super rigid! That I need to let loose, stop wanting to control everything. Control freak manenoz. She’s a harsh teacher, but a good one and always reminding me it is from a place of love. So I am learning to go with the flow … letting things slide a bit more. Because being anal about everything can be physically and mentally draining. Plus, not everything can be controlled, then what?🤷🏾
Also surround yourself with genuine cheerleaders! People with positive energy and genuine care and love for you. Because negativity isn’t good for you either. I make a point of being kind to myself by making sure I am around kind people. Because who wants bad company! Ptho!
I have learnt, in the scariest and hardest of ways to love my body and take time to nurture it. So I am actively trying to be kind to it because I now pay more attention to it. What goes in, what happens around it, how to make it stronger, make it last longer … lol. Taking conscious steps towards that, making conscious decisions towards that. It is not easy breaking decades old behaviour, but I am decades old now, things don’t work like they used to.
And last but not least, remember to always let my hair down and have FUN!! Because hey, there’s only one life to live. Na hii si rehearsal.
I practice self-kindness by:
- Cooking a good meal for myself when I can.
- Dressing up in clothes that I feel good in.
- Trying to learn from my mistakes instead of beating myself up.
- Always asking for help when I need it.
Positive talk (I run every morning and when doing so I remind myself of my good traits), I set boundaries, take time out when stressed (meditate and yoga) and I write notes to myself and lastly, gratitude journal.
I usually buy myself something after hard work.
I talk words of kindness to myself like: I am a great person, I am not a failure, I am good at what I do, and so on. Sometimes it’s hard to believe them but if I do it repetitively it makes me feel good.
I try not to overthink situations. Which on the contrary I am a genius at overthinking so it’s usually a struggle. But I have to practise not to and just focus my mind on more positive vibes 😌
I write myself a letter just to thank me for all the struggles I’ve been through and still not giving up.
Sometimes just chilling in the house in my favourite pajamas and just read a novel or watch a show I like.
I also hug myself a lot. I got me and that most important!
For so long I have not been kind to myself, but ever since I started seeing my therapist, I have been super conscious with the people I let into my life. I am now very protective of my peace of mind. That’s what I’m working very hard to protect.
I have been doing away with people who are draining coz I don’t want to go back to feeling the way I was feeling early this year. I like to read so I always find some time for that.
Just realized my reply is on self-care. Mmh self-kindness:
I am learning not to beat myself up on things I can’t change, following AA serenity prayer – God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
I have censored my inner bitch. The inner voice that constantly beats us down and asks “what is wrong with you” or puts you down by saying “you can’t do that”. I took that bitch and smothered her with lots of positivity. Nowadays as soon as negative self-criticism crosses my mind I replace it with a positive, encouraging thought. So instead of telling myself “you can’t do that” I tell myself “you can do that, it may be hard but you never know if you never try.”
It has pushed me to try lots of new things and also helped with my hyper rational personality.
- I’m mindful of how I talk to myself. I make sure that my self-talk is kind and positive, even on days that I feel I deserve to bash myself I do it with love.
- Take great care of what I consume, be it food, TV, books etc.
- I set some time apart to practice self-care. This could be light exercises in the form of yoga and meditation.
- Practice the gifts and abilities I have as well as learn challenging new skills. I view this as an investment/act of kindness to my future self.
I dress up and go an extra mile and apply make-up (considering I am not a huge fan), treat myself to lunch/coffee, explore a new place, window shop or purchase an item that gives me joy, selfies/photos of me just to see how pretty I am and give myself that boost. When I feel really overwhelmed I switch off my phone and just listen to my favourite music and sing along ❤️
I don’t judge myself too harshly if I don’t achieve something I had set to do. I just breathe in and out and move on. I really try not to compare myself with where my friends are in their lives, career, love life … I mean some days are hard to ignore especially when it’s all over IG so I just try remind myself that everything has its timing, timing ni muhimu, so I just keep up with my pace without giving myself pressure. In fact if I see someone has become too much every time I watch their stories, I just mute them. I don’t need such vibes in my life it’s already too hard 😂
Just realized I ain’t big on self-kindness 😅
But when I have a bad day I clean my environment, declutter, and make myself a nice hearty meal. I also sleep earlier than usual.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed or when I begin to overthink my life decisions, my path etc. I begin to feel resentful of others who seemingly have what I want. I stop that thought process and look for forgiveness affirmations that reflect what I’m feeling. I chant them out loud or in my heart until I believe it. Eg this one:
Also… I consider saying ‘no’ to someone or something a way of self-kindness.
Lastly I’ve honed the art of going to events, dinner, movies and even vacations alone. Sometimes bits of it are boring but when my soul is tired, it’s honestly so refreshing
I realized that I was too hard on myself especially in moments when I felt I had “fallen”.
I had to learn to appreciate the growth process & not just focus on outcomes. That way, I’m less hard on myself.
Also, I learnt to forgive myself too. Forgiving myself means that I’m able to love myself better & be nicer to myself.🙂
Another thing I do is, I talk to myself a whole lot while looking at myself in the mirror & I tell myself very nice things!!🤗
Finally, this point may or may not be considered “kindness” per se but I always make sure I’m looking smoooookin’ hot dressed in a banging outfit! 😉
In your words, a “lewk” 😉
All day, err’day!😉
When I look great, I feel great. My confidence is 💯 and for me, turning heads whenever I walk by and/or receiving compliments is such an ego booster!😉😏
Being a firstborn, I have always felt the pressure to be perfect. To excel in everything I do. I always felt like making mistakes was just not an option. So for the longest time, I would really beat myself up when I did make a mistake. I would literally feel like the worst person on earth. This year, I decided to be kinder to myself by learning how to forgive myself. I think it’s one of the most important things you can ever do because at the end of the day, you have to live with you and you deserve to live on good terms with yourself. I’ve made a shit ton of mistakes this year but through it all I’ve developed a relationship with myself as a result.
I had to really think about what acts of self-kindness are because I have never looked at them that way. It’s either they are things I do or worse, labelled guilty pleasures. I won’t list the latter though, I’m not that brave. Anyway, the first that came to mind was buying take out. The person who cooks here at home is a leading “mashakura” expert so when I get tired of it, I just order out. Others include doing devotionals, having my hair done elsewhere when I feel I’m tired of DIY, clearing notifications, journalling and rewatching marvel movies especially Captain America: Winter Soldier.
- By moving; yoga mostly, it’s always a feel good elixir
- Getting outdoors for o2 therapy
- Spending some time with real ones, you know the friends who are just good vibes…you can either bounce your thoughts on them or they just remind you who you really are
- Ganja therapy – self explanatory
(Fun fact, I did all 4 yesterday; 8km walk in Karura with my gal, post a smoke up sesh)
5. By following pages that speak positivity e.g. spirituality on IG
I realize that my list has changed now that I’m more money conscious 😄 Before it would be stuff like buying myself some comfort food, retail therapy, or a spa date 😄
I try (TRY) not to be too hard on myself. I try to stay away from toxic persons. I attempt to be authentic in all my interactions, from the watchman to my boss. Also reading and writing, not sure if those counts as self-kindness 😊
- Forgive – I’ve held grudges for many years and realized they were doing more harm to me than the people who actually wronged me. I eventually let it all go (it wasn’t an easy process).
- I say no to things that don’t make me happy.
- Social media break. Sometimes it gets too much.
- Traveling to new places.
Lastly I love eating. Good food is medicine to my heart. 🤣🤣🤣