Self-kindness is a radical act. It sets us free to serve others, to live a life of courageous compassion, to create positive change. – The lovely Marianne Elliott
I used to think that positive and negative were terms better suited to describing battery charges than human dispositions.
I used to think energy and vibes and the-feelings-one-projects-to-the-world were fluff. I have a confession: Part of me still does. When I hear people talk about how they “commune with their spleen” or they “shift the electromagnetic energies permeating a space,” I still roll my eyes. But I do believe this, with not a hint of shifting my pupils upward: Positive attitudes and kindness are contagious, inspiring more positivity and kindness wherever they land.
Here is another confession: It has been a difficult time lately. Post-conflict development work takes a heavy toll on the heart and, compounded with conflicts in other aspects of life, conflict is weighing me down. And so I decided that this will be my year of what Marianne Elliott has dubbed “radical self-kindness.” I will extend kindness to others and to myself because it is the kindness of others that has fed my faith in humanity and it is kindness to myself that enables me to continue dreaming.
I hope this will be a year of dreaming. Aware of my apprehension about anything reckless, a dear friend dubbed it “a year of realistic abandon.” Perhaps it will be the year that I become less shy about writing and photographing – the year that I will, as Mary Oliver would want me to, “let the soft animal of my body love what it loves.” I hope it will be another year of love.
So, cheers to kindness and self-kindness and the enabling of dreams. It will be a good year.