Hello All! <3
As always, I encourage you to discern any considerations I offer against your own inner knowing. We are each on our own journey of self-discovery and what resonates with one soul may not for another.
Learning the way of kindness has been tricky for me. Mostly (for the majority of my lifetime, really) kindness meant unconditional acceptance. Which I now realize, unfortunately and frequently, translated to low expectations of others, and ultimately for and of myself. All in the name of not offending another or not bruising my ego which had attached to the identity of being “giving, sweet, and polite,” even at the expense of healthy interactions. Actually…often at the expense of healthy interactions. The martyr is the other side of narcissism. And neither is the healthy path forward in this life.
- Kindness never asks us to be a doormat to others.
- If we are not first kind to ourselves (honoring our own worthiness), we will not recognize how to engage in healthy kindness toward others.
- The manner in which we allow others to treat us is a mirror to how we are willing to treat ourselves.
- Discerning the energy we allow and disallow in our lives provides the foundation for all manifestation.
- Standing in my worth very well may offend someone who depends on me to facilitate their sense of worth.
I believe our culture sets the stage to make it easy to confuse the notion of kindness and unconditional love with feeding the needs of others at any expense. We believe that it actually makes us a “good” person. But ironically it depletes us as much as it dis-empowers the other.
So what is “kind” when we interact with others? What if the focus of the behavior of kindness was to facilitate growth as opposed to merely pleasing others? From joy vs obligation or manipulation (whether conscious or unconscious). Is it kinder to empower than merely to please?
Communication. Honoring ourselves and others enough to create a space to discuss things when needed. To be open to it. Or at least attempt it on our end. And to attempt to do so in a manner that shows the other respect and maturity.
*If someone doesn’t approach you with respect and maturity? It is kind to both you and them to defer on the conversation.
Honesty. With ourselves. And with them (whoever “they” may be). What we may need from others may not be what they are willing to give. What they need from us may be in conflict with our integrity in honoring who we are. But my feeling is that it is most kind, to be most honest. For everyone to know where they stand in relation to others. One person’s “doormat” is another person’s “high maintenance”. And at the end of the day? It’s all relative. Just own it. Because it will poke, pester, and persist until it is acknowledged.
*If somebody is not willing to do the work of being honest with themselves? You? Other people? Then it is still kind to speak your truth to them and set that example. And then…let it go. We can only control ourselves, not others.
Responsibility. Be responsible to whatever it is. To me this is the hard work. Through responsibility we are called to discern among things like 1. Apathy (absolving ourselves of responsibility with ourselves and others) 2. Co-dependent decision making (moving forward based on fears, conditioning and unhealthy behavioral patterns) 3. Inter-dependent decision making (moving forward based on self-reflection, discussion with others and ownership of the honesty that results from that communication).
*If someone openly communicates with us, even does so honestly, but cannot be responsible to it? We still can own our end. And that could translate to a lot of different things, including making the “hard” choices others may not be willing or brave enough to make.
Reciprocity. A good balance of giving and receiving. Is this always perfecting equal? Nope. Usually it ebbs and flows a bit on either end. But at the end of the day, we all know within our hearts, how balanced out energy feels in a relationship. If we find ourselves frequently frustrated in a relationship, we need to get real about the balance of it. The synergy of interactions comes from the flow which moves both ways.
*If we identify that we don’t feel fair reciprocity in a relationship, then I feel it’s time to move through the communication, honesty, and responsibility components of kindness. And we have to understand that sometimes our needs and expectations just don’t match those of others, or shift over time to no longer match. And that does not make one person better or worse than the other. But if a new balance point can’t be found? Well, if things don’t bend, they break. As we begin to value growth, we begin to understand that not all shifts like this are “negative”. For each person to hold their personal integrity, it is the perspective that may bend through honest conversation, but it never should be their personal truth that is required to. Many times shifts/breaks are in the best interest of honoring all involved.
We don’t need to manipulate or control how others feel or behavior toward us. We just need to own our standard and then allow others to match it…or not (and accepting that is not always easy, but it’s healthy). You can read more about this in my blog post about conditions and standards.
Figuring out healthy ways of living, being able to live with ourselves and with others, can be tricky. But it IS life. We can embrace it or avoid it. We can dig deep and figure out who we really are…who others are…how to move through it all with integrity, honesty and kindness, or not. I cringe to think of how many people I have maintained relationships with that were never willing to have the uncomfortable conversations. I cringe to think of how many people could hold “honest” conversations with me never to acknowledge them respectfully or follow-through. I cringe to think of how many times I made excuses for people or waited around feeling responsible to convince them that they should behave differently- even when they clearly showed me that was not who they were or where they were.
And that? It was always my responsibility. My “next choice”. It was never theirs beyond them being true to who they were and where they were at. And people clearly show us that on the daily.
My kindness has either served to obscure truth (when distorted)… or to secure it (when clear).
This week, challenge yourself to kindness. Not ushy, gushy, throw yourself under the bus to spare everyone else kindness.
The work of showing up, and from love, laying it on the table…and being willing to own it all.
If you would like to connect for a one-on-one session as you navigate your journey of self-discovery, I would consider it my privilege and look forward to hearing from you.
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