Kindness Is Contagious

2017 Kindness Challenge Week 7

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This past week we were charged with keeping track of kindness both given and received. I found this exercise to be very valuable as I was made aware of just how much kindness was shown to me.  I also became aware of how much I had taken for granted.  Human nature seems to allow us to do that so often.

I must say that I feel very blessed and grateful for those times when kindness was extended to me this past week.   But I was truly amazed at how blessed I felt when I was the one being kind.  It was like Christmas when you give a gift and without anything in return you feel as though you had received the best gift of all.

Kindness works the same way.  The kinder you are, the kinder people are to you and to other people they meet.  Kindness spreads and multiplies.  But, there is a little catch to spreading kindness, the more anonymous it is, the larger the effect it has.

I have really enjoyed this challenge from Niki at The Richness of a Simple Life.  It has confirmed my belief that kindness is as necessary to the human spirit as food is to the human flesh.  Thank you Niki for challenging me to open myself up to kindness.

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”                           St. Therese of Lisieux

Wanda

 

 

2017 Kindness Challenge: Week 5

2017 Kindness Challenge:  Choosing Kindness

I grew up in the north east part of the country.  Many people who live up there look at you as if you have two heads when you say hello to them on the street.  I really didn’t know that there were places where strangers spoke to each other and it was not only accepted, but expected.

My first trip to the south was a real eye opener.  Strangers would speak to me with smiles on their faces.  Now I am not saying that everyone in the south displays this kindness. There are no absolutes here, but the overall attitude is one of friendliness and kindness. Which I hate to say is not necessarily how it is where I come from.

I began to speak to strangers when I returned home and was surprised how good I felt doing so.  And after speaking to people I didn’t know that I would see often at the grocery store or other places I frequented, I wore them down and they began to smile and say hello to me too.

So this weeks challenge is something I have already been working on.  I do try to always put myself in someone else’s situation and be more accepting of their reactions.  I have always been a little intolerant with some of my responses to things beyond my control.  I am working very hard to not respond unkindly to the messengers.  I think I am making progress.

Colossians 3:12  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience

Wanda

 

 

How We See Ourselves, How Others See Us, And How To Embrace Where We Are — Catholic Wife, Catholic Life

I thought I would share this especially since the 2017 Kindness Challenge is going on right now.  I think it’s definitely worth the read.

I thought it was about time that I share some more of the best finds with you! These are some of the things that really resonated with me this week, and a lot of them have to do with who we are — with our identity, with how we see ourselves

via How We See Ourselves, How Others See Us, And How To Embrace Where We Are — Catholic Wife, Catholic Life

Choosing Kindness

Week 5| Choosing Kindness

It’s week 5 in the 2017 Kindness Challenge. I’ll be posting what I have learned at the end of the week.

The Richness of a Simple Life

Attention Kindness Challenge participants!

In this post, you’ll find:

  • this week’s theme prompt & exercise
  • video showing the ripple effect of kindness
  • the reflection post prompt questions for this week

If you haven’t signed up for the challenge yet and would like details about the challenge, click here.

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Week 3, Self-Acceptance

 

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This past week I have been evaluating self-acceptance. After the first two weeks of the 2017 Kindness Challenge, I have a better perspective of who I am and how I feel about it. I have always tried to be what my mom raised me to be. A good wife, mother, nurse and the list goes on and on. However, I have to admit that what my idea of each of these things is quite different from what other’s ideas are. My husband, for example, began our marriage comparing what I did with what his mother did. Because of my basic personality, I rejected this immediately. But if I am really honest I did feel as if I was not what he expected and felt badly about it.

There are so many aspects of my life that I felt that I didn’t measure up and disappointed my parents, husband, children, co-workers, etc. I don’t think I ever thought much about it before this challenge. I have come to the realization that I probably wouldn’t have had an ulcer if I had.  I guess that says a lot huh?

I have decided to actively let go of all of those guilty feelings about not measuring up to what everyone else thinks I should be. I will accept my looks, my weight, my talent, my work ethic, my parenting style, and everything else that makes me who I am one day at a time and one issue at a time.

I am a work in progress. The operative word being progress. I feel as long as I am making progress I will eventually get there.

Wanda

Self-compassion

Self-compassion

Kristin Neff, Ph.D., associate professor in human development at the University of Texas at Austin is the author of Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, says that self compassion has been linked to greater well-being, including diminished anxiety and depression, better emotional coping skills and compassion for others. According to Neff, self-compassion consists of self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.

The past week I took a good look to see if I was indeed practicing self-compassion. I clearly had had issues with self-kindness and discovered ways for me to improve in that area. However, I see now that just changing how I respond to the issues in my life is not the only necessary thing I need to change.

I have not been very accepting of my issues or of my feelings about them. I have not given myself the consideration I have given to not only loved ones and friends, but to total strangers in my nursing practice. I have realized that I am just as worthy of being compassionate, caring and kind to myself. I have always been one who takes charge and been very strong. So, when I am troubled about my life I am impatient with myself and un-accepting of my weakness even if it is just my perception of weakness. I have come to the realization that for me to get to where I need to be, I have to change my way of thinking.

I also must realize that we all suffer and have self doubts and we are not alone to deal with them. I need to see that our common humanity calls us to be careful how we deal with ourselves so we can be compassionate with others. Being here with my friends in Florida helping them out while Frank recovers from a serious illness and surgeries has made me realize the truth of Neff’s observations.

We were asked to try to identify where the disparaging voice that plays in our head when we fall short of the mark so to speak comes from.  I was surprised to realize that my little recriminations came directly from my mother.  I don’t for one minute believe she was being malicious, but rather she had her own set of problems she was unable to handle.  My grandmother raised me from the time I was eleven and did a pretty good job of instilling self esteem in me.  However, sometimes I still hear my mother in my head.

I could not be more surprised to learn that after not seeing my mother since the age of eleven her words could still have that impact on me.  Now that I understand where it comes from I can now move on.

Wanda

Self Love

2017 Kindness Challenge, Week 1:  Self Love

Wow, what a concept right? How many of us truly understand what that means? It doesn’t mean that we become narcissistic, but rather that we love ourselves by taking care of our minds, bodies and souls.

According to Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D, “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.”

It means that we give ourselves a break when things are not going right, when things are out of our control. And it means that we forgive ourselves when we are responsible for what goes haywire in our lives.

I have been struggling with the guilt and anger over my feelings of abandonment by my husband’s death, which of course he had no control over. I realize that this is a part of the grieving process in my head, but emotionally and in my heart I feel rejected and unloved. My life is changing in ways I never expected it to change. I have had to rely on my children for help in areas of my life that I was supposed to have control.

My children have stood by and let me rant. They understand that I am trying my best to get through this quagmire with some sense of self respect. My heart breaks for them too because they have lost their dad. Which adds to my guilt when my anger shows through.

I have to give up the home I shard with my husband. Preparing to move has opened up all sorts of memories of our life together. I have been going through almost forty one years of accumulated “stuff”. It’s a daunting task. I laugh, I cry, I dream. Then I have to decide what box it goes in. Trash, donate, kids, sell? I feel the guilt again and the self loathing because I can’t keep all of the “stuff” which makes me feel as if I am some how not honoring our life together.

I have days when I do nothing. I just sit and read or binge watch shows on Netflix giving in to those sad feelings. In the beginning I felt guilty about that too. But, my daughter has told me repeatedly that I deserve to withdraw once in a while and let the mess go. To recharge in any way that works for me. I am finally listening.

I do have days of clarity when I realize my husband didn’t choose to leave me. That he loved me and wanted to stay here with me. I am also allowing myself to feel the anger and sadness and not be guilty about it. I have come to realize that those feelings are just as valid as my feelings of love I have always had for my husband and family. I am working on not holding myself to task over every time I have a negative reaction to my memories.

I have set a schedule for myself with honest expectations as to what I can accomplish in a day. And if I fall short? I plan to adjust accordingly. No guilt, no self loathing. I plan to take one day at a time. To do something just for me everyday, even for just a few minutes if necessary.

Wanda