November 13th is World Kindness Day. Although I love the idea that kindness is being singled out and honored with its own special day, I know you would agree that every day needs to be “kindness day.” Acts of kindness need to be offered and experienced on several different levels. When I work with clients, regardless of their presenting problems, helping them to increase their ability to turn inward and bring greater kindness to themselves is a central part of the journey. So many clients lead from inner criticism, judgment, and shame. Their negative self-talk profoundly impacts their sense of self-worth and their inability to be kind to themselves hijacks the self-compassion that is so necessary for healing.
Many clients also need to expand their capacity to be kind to their partners or their children. Whatever else you focus on in session, make sure you communicate that “kindness” is the essential ingredient that makes relationships loving and healthy. It creates a buffer and a balm when there is pain, anger, or disappointment, and it deepens the positive feelings of safety, trust, and connection. I ask all my clients to become more intentional in their interactions by always pausing before speaking and asking themselves, “Is what I am about to say kind or unkind?” “If it’s unkind, how can I say it in a kinder way?”
And certainly, what our communities, society, and the world-at-large needs now more than ever is kindness. We need to take a stand against the marginalization of any group, or a mindset that “cancels” a different point of view, or words and actions that promote hostility, cruelty, shaming, the disregard for life and property or violence. Every day we all can choose how we treat ourselves and how we relate to and treat others. Endorsing acts of kindness has never been more important and may well be the key to healing our divisive and chaotic world.
In my upcoming training, “Helping Your Clients Find there Ruby Slippers” you will learn about and experience powerful journal prompts that are designed to help clients access and enhance an inner dialogue of kindness and self-compassion.
Although these are children’s books it is never too early to teach the value of being kind, and adults will be just as moved by the messages!
- Kindness is my Superpower: A Children’s Book about Empathy, Kindness and Compassion, by Alicia Ortego
- Bring Some Kindness, Share Some Light, by Apryl Stott
- The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig
- The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy