Yesterday was World Kindness Day. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a ton of different resources about kindness – calendars and blogs and social media to help you bring a little more kindness to your life.
When someone says the word ‘kindness’ I think first of “lovingkindness” – a 7 minute meditation practice (and here is a 40 minute meditation and a script to make your own version) that has been proven to increase connection with others & general mindfulness, and therefore overall life satisfaction. And here are 18 other reasons to practice loving kindness.
Now for me, I first heard of loving kindness through DBT, a type of therapy with a strong mindfulness component based in zen traditions. As I think it is important to try all of the exercises and worksheets I do with clients first on myself, of course I gave it a try. And it was harder than I expected. But eventually, along with a bunch of other mindfulness and other exercises, it got easier. I was able to find my intuition, able to apply radical acceptance, and all of it eventually made much more sense. You do have to do it (or at least something) every day to maintain your skills. Practice makes it much easier to apply when you are stressed because it is already familiar to you, and you are more likely to remember to use it.
Kindness and mindfulness go hand in hand – both require that you suspend judgment. And that is the root of the difficulty – judgment. As with so many things, you can’t just stop – you have to replace it with something else. Why not kindness? Compassion? Towards yourself AND others.
There is a saying – “replace judgment with curiosity.” If you approach things with an open mind and sense of curiosity, you will learn a lot more. It encourages you to look for facts, not just opinions. It helps you be more objective, and helps you learn.
So that is my recommendation – if you replace judgment with compassion and curiosity the world will look a lot different.
Try it and let me know how it goes!