World Kindness Day took place on Wednesday 13th November 2019. Lots of people on my IG network shared posts about kindness and what that means. I started thinking about this myself and what it means to me. I go through phases in my practice where I find myself seeing themes coming up in my client work. Recently it has been the lack of compassion and kindness people show to themselves. They listen to all the thoughts that go through their mind and take it as truth. A key principle of CBT is that our thoughts are not fact and they are an internal voice that tells us what we understand of the world, which is influenced by our past experiences.
When a child is learning language, much like my Samraj, they are understanding the world as we show it to them. They see a flat surface with 4 legs and a back. They are told it is a chair, and its function is to be sat on. They then see an ottoman which has also 4 legs and can also be sat on… a sort of chair. They then make an assumption when they see a wooden flat surface with legs, that this is also a chair. They are told, that actually this is a table. Recently I took Samraj to a pumpkin patch. I told him to sit on the pumpkin for a picture… he then made an assumption: “Mummy, chair!”.
I could have easily have laughed at him, ridiculed him, called him stupid. I chose not to. I explained gently to him that this is a pumpkin. (I did laugh inside, it was adorably funny!) Samraj now learns a new word without being told that he got it wrong. I tried to do it as kindly as I could. I wonder if I had made a mistake or error of the same sort, whether I would have been as kind to myself. I may have internally scolded myself for being so stupid. I may have told myself off for always getting it wrong.
Something I say when I hear client’s being so critical of themselves is “what would you say to a friend if they made the same mistake? Would you use the same language as you use for yourself?” So many are surprised by this revelation. They would never say such nasty things to others. By technicality we shouldn’t say it to ourselves either.
I wrote a post last week, inspired by the gorgeous Khloe Kardashian who asked “what would the world be like if everyone was 5% kinder…?” I ask you, what would you be like if you were 5% kinder to yourself.
I’ll leave it there for now. Let me know your thoughts. Hope you are having a lovely start to the week.
Lots of love,