I really connected with the message Ellen DeGeneres put out last week about being kind to everyone not just people with whom we agree. It made me think about kindness in general and what a shift it can create in our communities.
Like many of us I have a bad habit of passively scrolling through my social media feeds looking at my friends’ and family’s posts.
I can spend an excessive amount of time on social media if I don’t monitor myself and adhere to my self-imposed limits. I try to keep it to thirty minutes per day.
Be mindful that people are just posting their highlight reels as you scroll passively through your feeds. It is easy to start comparing and feeling bad about our own accomplishments or positions in life.
Remember, you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.
People mostly post pictures of happy families sitting close with their arms around each other as they look out at a gorgeous lake as if thinking to themselves, “Why us? How did we get so lucky?” "soblessed" "family"
Yep. I do that too. "gratitude"
But they very well could be living in a nightmare of domestic violence, drug or alcohol addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or even dealing with anxiety – we don’t know.
Here are some frightening statistics:
Bipolar Disorder affects 2.3 million Americans. An estimated 51% of individuals with this condition are untreated in any given year
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States
Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment
The World Health Organization reports that close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds
The most frustrating part of those four bullets is that it sometimes feels like there is nothing we can do to help solve them.
When mental health issues affect us directly, then sure, we are in the thick of it trying to heal the person who is suffering.
But if you are too far removed, it can seem hopeless at times.
So How Can We Help?
By being kind.
Just understanding that we have no idea what the people around us are dealing with and reaching out with kindness is enough. Make it part of your daily routine to be kind to others regardless of what you know about their situation.
Assume they need support, because we all do.
Buy a random person coffee, offer to give someone a ride home, hold the door open, or simply smile and offer a warm greeting. These simple acts not only put good energy out into the world but allow us to be part of the solution without getting caught up in our neighbor’s drama.
As we practice small acts of kindness we are putting light into the world with each little act. And every time we put light into the world some of the darkness goes away.
Pivot and Shoot
I was recently working with a client on the idea of aligning with the positive energy around her and shifting her mindset to gratitude. She had begun to practice what I call the “pivot and shoot” move.
Whenever she feels her thoughts and energy starting to move into a dark place I’ve asked her to acknowledge the thought, thank it for showing her how she does not want to feel, and then use it to provide clarity on how she does want to feel (this is the pivot part).
Then she helps perpetuate the good feelings that she craves by performing random acts of kindness (the shooting part). Energy is transformed right in front of her and she soaks in the good feelings and light immediately.
In turn, the person to whom she was kind has a little more light and is able to take it with them to share with others.
So if you feel sad about what is happening in the world and you feel like there is nothing you can do, remember to pivot and shoot. It makes an impact.
This is truly the basis of what I stand for.
Be Kind to Yourself
Ever listen to the band Journey? Yeah you have.
They have this song called “Be Good to Yourself (When Nobody Else Will),” and it goes a little something like this:
When you can’t give no more.
You want it all, but you gotta say no.
I’m turning off the noise that makes me crazy….
Be good to yourself (when nobody else will)!
Thank you, Steve Perry.
Here are some ways we can be good to ourselves:
1. Declutter. Actually, Marie Kondo the shit out of your house. Especially if you are hanging on to things that have negative emotions associated with them. For instance, the skinny pants that we can no longer fit into and just taunt us from the closet every morning. Talk about starting the day off on a low note! There is a heaviness to keeping things around that are tied to negative emotions. Rent a dumpster and fill that sucker up. It feels great!
2. Let go. This starts with the pivot move where we notice ourselves starting to feel negative energy and bad vibes. Take note of what is causing those feelings and see if you can’t let go of it. Is it a friend that isn’t very nice to you, but you’ve been friends for years and you don’t really want to give it up? Try to at least take a break and detach until you feel released from the negativity. Still angry at the last place you worked because they didn’t treat you fairly? Time to forgive. Read up on my blog on forgiveness here.
3. Draw some boundaries. I am currently working with a client who went through a wicked breakup and is having a hard time “disconnecting” from her ex. He was still contacting her and it was driving her insane because she was trying to get closure on the relationship. “I loved you, but I’m trying to hate you right now”, right? She needed boundaries because they had many of the same friends, so she set them and they both agreed to follow the “rules”. It was difficult, but now she feels much better.
4. Pamper yo-self. If you have the money, go ahead and schedule a massage, get some highlights or have your nails done. If you don’t currently have a rainy day fund, let yourself do nothing for a weekend but watch television and eat snacks. Make sure the kids are away for the weekend and your husband knows that the entire weekend is “me time.” Relax sister. You deserve it.
Be a Light in Your Community
If you are feeling down or having a bad day, pivot and shoot.
Focus on things that make you happy and do a kind deed. When we make a choice to focus on activities that give out good vibes we turn to the light and clear away darkness!
Your assignment for the week is to try to be kind each day. Make a point of it and let me know how it makes you feel!
With gratitude, Brooke