On Kindness

ZOMG.  What. A. Week.  I feel like it’s still Monday but thankfully we are SO CLOSE to the weekend I can feel it!

Speaking of Monday — this past one I popped into my favorite yoga studio with my favorite teacher at my favorite time for some of my favorite type of yoga.  I needed those chaturangas and those uttanasanas more than I can really tell you.

One of my favorite things about my yoga teacher is that she always brings an intention for the class to share.  Apparently my studio is doing a month’s worth of positive intentions for the community and, since this was my first yoga class since August, I’d missed all of them — except kindness.

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sometimes kindness is your best friends having a photo booth for you on your big day. pic courtesy of Sanderson Images

As I was struggling through my vinyasas I really tried to think of what kindness means to me and whether or not I could leave the class and go back out into the world believing that I am a kind person.

Because here’s the thing, kindness, to me anyway,  isn’t just about how many smiles you dole out during the day and, you know, not being a huge bitch to everyone in the office just because someone had the nerve to eat the last bag of cheddar pop corners out of the new, healthy vending machine.  Kindness is truly about how we treat everyone, including ourselves.  And in my estimation there is a huge abyss between self-love and self kindness.

***

Part of the reason I went on a blog hiatus when MB got back from California was because I could not STAND the inanity of self congratulatory bloggers on the internet.  Yes they were empowered, and yes they talked positively about their body images and their running goals and their relationships.  But there was something so disingenuous about it.  Like they were simply saying and doing those things because they had to appear as if only eating kale smoothies for lunch and dinner and cooking every Sunday and running 8:30 min/miles was them acting kind to themselves.  I never read about them giving themselves a break, asking for help, or truly treating themselves.  That type of kindness-vaccuum really made me sad.

During  yoga on Monday, I realized that I want to be the kind of person whose blog I would click over to everyday.  I want to be genuine and honest with my readers {aka my Mom, Little A, Gina and Keri — hey y’all!} and in the process be kind to myself and model that behavior for others.

For example, when I wrote about Disney World Half Marathon, there was not one mention of the kindness I tried to show myself after that race.  What I failed to mention, an omission I truly regret, was that after I found MB in the crowd I cried.  Not the heaving, screaming “I didn’t finish the marathon” cry.  Just a disappointed few tears about missing my goals.  MB, as usual, pushed the tears away and asked me if I was OK.  I told him I would be and, despite the fact I was disappointed, I was still so proud I finished another half marathon, even though it wasn’t my best.  What I also failed to report is that even when talking about the race and the disappointment I am gentle with myself.  The race was a huge blow to my ego but I am still proud that I tried {really hard} and that I’ll continue to try.  I try to employ the gentility when I talk about it in my head, too, because that’s where the sounds ring the loudest.

I talked to my BRF two Tuesdays after the race on a super gangster, icy, night run.  She said, of course, she was proud of me, but she was most proud that I was being so nice about it to myself.  And that’s when I knew I needed that part of all the things I write about to be more transparent.  I promise {all 4 of you} that I will show the kindness that I want to see on the internet here — to myself and especially to others.

As I left yoga that night, I felt amazing, as usual.  But I also felt that zen feeling that so many people talk about.  I felt centered and happy which has translated to an awesome week — professionally and runningly — even though this week should have translated into missed runs, disappointments and generally grumpiness.

And I’m doing great.

Do you think that you’re kind to yourself?

7 thoughts on “On Kindness

  1. alimaruca says:

    We. Are. The. Same. Person. I SWEAR! I’m struggling with this right not too because we are our hardest {and worst} critics and it’s so difficult for us {driven, passionate people} to cut ourselves some slack. And I think it’s so crucial, like you said, that in order to be truly, genuinely kind, we have to reflect that both outwardly towards others and inwardly towards ourselves. I applaud your efforts and will consciously try to do the same :-). Yay you and yay for an awesome running week! ❤ ❤ ❤

  2. Gina says:

    I love it. I am SO tired of people pretending to be perfect or going on and on about how mediocre they are as a parent/wife/human being. We are all dysfunctional, and instead of miring in it, we need to get a little sad, then be really nice to ourselves in spite of it. I just read an interview with Jimmy Fallon, and he says the key to happiness is moderation–joy and sorrow and everything else in moderation. I thought it was exceedingly wise and helpful.

    Love you!!

  3. M @readeatwriterun says:

    This is a great post. I have some of the same feelings….especially the trying to be kind to myself after races or runs that didn’t go the way I wanted, so easy to spiral into the badness! (or even in other things where I fall short of how I expect myself to be, that ideal – whether it’s eating more cereal than I “know” I “should” or how unfocused I am at work one day, or letting a passing dark cloud of mood dictate what comes out of my mouth….all things that happened yesterday and that I spent a few minutes whomping myself for last night, planning deprivation and punishment instead of working on systems and habits and really assessing if what I did/didn’t do was SO bad as to require a change)

    In my experience…self-kindness a practice, like so many other things, a “muscle” you HAVE to work to strengthen, thoughts/self-talk you HAVE to stay on top of as it can so easily slide back into self-criticism or self-abuse. It requires a lot of awareness and self-monitoring (mindfulness). But it’s worth trying, every effort gets me a little closer to who I want to be. I am working on this practice, along with so many others.

    I do think I’ve seen some progress, and others have noted it as well. I find it can feel very strange, like there’s a hole there, to NOT beat up on myself, kind of like I don’t quite know what to do if I’m NOT beating up on myself or ruminating over and over on my “flaws”, “failings”, “shortcomings”, “mistakes” (humanness?) – which is nothing but running in place and doesn’t benefit me. I have to fight the concept, probably embedded in my childhood, that if I’m not hard on myself or remind myself how flawed I am, I’ll just be this lazy slacker that I feel I am inside, that I’ll be the image of me as un-special and un-worthy that I fight whenever I fall short of my image of the perfect me (or, you know, a lot of the time 🙂 But I AM having some success – sometimes I can feel my head going to the bad place, and another part of me says “nope, I don’t want to do that, I’m tired of it and it gets us nowhere, move along”.

    I keep seeing this quote on twitter and one blog, something like “Beating up on yourself again? How’s that been working out for you? Why don’t you try accepting and loving yourself instead, see how that goes?” I have to reinforce that being kind or compassionate to myself and others isn’t being weak, it’s actually the opposite. One concept along those lines I’ve always liked is – “whatever you’re saying to yourself, would you say it or let someone say it to your best friend, a child, someone you loved? then why why be less kind to yourself? what WOULD you say to those people? apply the same rules to yourself!”

    I’m working on having my default response to say “okay, that didn’t go as I wanted or thought/hoped it would or worked for it to – so why didn’t it? what can I learn, what changes can I make? or was it just one of those things?” then take away what I can, with a little “oh well” shrug or a wry “ah, that was what did it” smile and an adjusted plan, and maybe a laugh or two and some perspective to go with any tears, frustration, anger. I’m working on spending just enough time on these things to figure out if I need to do anything about whatever happened so that I can move forward.

    Thanks for this post. Wasn’t expecting to have it trigger me and spend all this time before my run writing a response, but maybe I needed to see your words and think about my own state of efforts in this area this morning. Have a wonderful weekend!

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