She kindly smiled at me. Her two little chihuahuas wiggling on either side of her. I took a sharp turn and drove past her. She smiled at me. With such a bright smile. With a strange twinkle in her eye. She even waved at me. I didn’t even know her, yet hours later she remains in my thoughts. She has made my day because she reminded me of the way I want to live.
I believe that this is the way many of you want to live as well. If you are familiar with the philosophy of Today I Lived you know that it is all about feeling alive. Making the most of every minute. Not in an efficiency or productivity sense, but in a feeling and being sense. And the smile on the woman’s face reminded me of something that is closely related to Today I Lived, yet that had drifted away into the back of my mind again.
Part One: Kindness is the Expression of the Soul
This beautiful woman I met today reminded me of how I want to live my life. How I want to express myself. That is through kindness. Every time I hear this word my face brightens up and I feel weightless almost. I start to smile and I feel alive. Maybe kindness is one of those aspects that makes me, and I believe you as well, come to life each day with a smile on our face.
It’s that smile on the woman’s face, and the twinkle in her eyes that showed her kindness to me. That made my day. It wasn’t the words we said to one another, or spending time together, it was a brief moment. Just a few seconds, yet a smile was all it took to express her kindness to me.
I feel that kindness is an expression of the soul. It’s so pure, and few people can resist anothers’ kindness. Not even the grumpiest of people will be able to withstand a stranger’s kindness. One day even these people will become kind themselves. It’s such a pure expression, such a delighted expression. Maybe even a childish expression, because it’s so simple to perform.
All it takes is a thank you, or a smile, or a little help or support. It could be as easy as saying you look beautiful today, or smiling at the stranger you cross in the street. It’s so simple, yet why did we forget it? I think because we get caught up in the parts of our lives that are stressful and rigid. Like work, or personal problems. They make us forget that playfulness and kindness make even these struggles light and joyful.
I even think that when we are kind to others, even though we are having a tough time that in some way the kindness returns to us. In the form of a friend, a helping hand, maybe a social media post that tells you, you are beautiful. And I think that it is kindness that can change our life the most.
So I decided to help you with being kind to yourself and others. Because I felt that I had to share the same feeling with you, that this lovely woman shared with me this morning.
Part Two: Being Kind to Myself
One of the reasons I forgot about kindness is because I forgot to be kind to myself. To appreciate myself, and to smile at myself. It’s oftentimes that we forget this, that creates the feeling of heaviness, doubt, and stress in our lives. When all it takes to change this is a word of kindness to yourself. Not like an affirmation, you repeat over and over again to yourself. But more like just one phrase, that you say to yourself as if someone else was telling it to you.
“You are beautiful. Your smile is kind and spreads love. Or you are doing great.”
It’s so simple, and we don’t need to repeat it over and over again if we are conscious about it. Because I believe that the soul already knows that we are beautiful, that we are kind and loving, and that we are doing great, all it takes is an honest and pure expression of that. Whether someone else tells you, or you tell yourself. It’s no difference.
All that matters is that you hear it. That you take it in and feel the corners of your mouth move up to the sky. That’s called a smile. And it is meant to be spread with the world. It is meant to cheer you up. And it happens almost automatically when we are aware of our own kindness. If we share kindness with ourselves.
A strange thing that I often do is stand in front of the mirror and smile at myself. Not to make myself happy, or to push away the sadness. But rather to remind me of my own beauty. Of the gift, I was given at birth that can change the world for me. What’s that gift? My smile. Your smile. Our smile. It is, and will always be, the most powerful way to express your kindness. So that’s why I decided to sit in front of the mirror today and smile at myself whilst writing. It is all thanks to this wonderful lady that I was reminded to be kind to myself.
So here are some ways to be kind to yourself. These aren’t affirmations, they aren’t meant to make you happy instantly. They are meant to be kind to yourself. So even when you are angry, or sad, or stressed you can learn to be kind to yourself.
- If you are happy, smile at yourself, or tell yourself you are beautiful
- If you are sad, tell yourself it’s okay to be sad, allow yourself to feel it, and feel as though you are giving yourself a hug
- If you are angry, allow yourself to punch a cushion, to be angry for a moment, be kind to yourself. You don’t need to be angry at someone else, neither do you have to push it away. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to be angry.
It’s kindness that will never make you force change, or to do something that you do not want to do. It’s kindness that can change the situation in which we feel god awful. Because kindness is like that loving caretaker ready to hug you when you need it.
It’s kindness that will never make you force change, or to do something that you do not want to do. It’s kindness that can change the situation in which we feel god awful. Because kindness is like that loving caretaker ready to hug you when you need it. It’s that best friend we always wished to have. Or the parent that comforts us at all times. Yet now they are within you, and you can give yourself their kindness. At any time, in any place, at any moment.
You know what… The biggest difference didn’t even happen when I was kind to myself. It was when I started sharing kindness with others that my soul started smiling as well.
Part Three: Being Kind to Others
And last we can become just like this wonderful lady. Spreading our kindness with others. This has changed my life. This is the way I want to live my life. To be there for friends and family when they need me. To be there for them to pour out their heart, to be there with them to have fun, and to be kind to them. Too often remind them that I appreciate them, and give them more compliments. That’s something I want to start doing more often actually.
But not just that, it’s also being kind to the people we don’t know. It could be as simple as smiling at your barista, or a customer. It could be helping someone lifting their groceries from the counter to their car. Or it could be buying a flower and handing it out to a stranger. There are so many ways to be kind to others. To friends and family, but also a complete stranger. And I know it’s scary to be kind, because what if people don’t like it? What if they think you are weird. Well, then you can be kind to yourself again. Tell yourself that you did a good thing.
That this person needs a little bit more time to feel kindness, and to express it himself. But that you can keep going, that you can keep expressing your kindness with others. I feel that this is really what is gonna change the world. It’s not the endless debating, and pointing fingers, choosing sides, and creating division between us. It’s kindness that we need more of in politics, in nations, in rulers and systems. Because kindness is what unites, and dissolves all boundaries and boxes naturally. It’s what we need to eradicate hatred, sexism, racism, and to unite religions and nations.
We can not be kind to someone and at the same time feel different from them. We can not be kind to a gay person, a colored person, a Christian, or a Muslim and at the same time judge them, or feel indifferent from them. Kindness creates connections between us and breaks all the boxes and boundaries. This is the protest that we should have. Not to get out in the streets and protest against inequality, but to get out in the street and stand for unity. To get out in the streets and show the result we want. To be united, not to point fingers at each other. We’re more beautiful than that. We are one. We all can live such beautiful lives when we start to be kind towards one another.
When I say I love you, no matter your religion, your skin color, your gender, your sexuality, the way you look, not even if you are a hater or a bully. I love you too. Because you know what, kindness is universal. It unites, and it connects. So let’s spread that word. Let’s spread kindness for everyone, even the haters, even the most unlovable. Because they need our kindness the most. Let kindness fill every corner of our lives. So that we can say, Today I Lived. I have made the most of every minute by spreading my kindness to myself and others.