Just for Today: Be Kind to Yourself and Others

Part of my journey in Reiki training is to get in touch with the five principles of Reiki, namely:

  • Just for today: Do not be angry
  • Just for today: Do not worry
  • Just for today: Be kind to yourself and others
  • Just for today: Express ones Gratitude
  • Just for today: Be diligent in work

 

Today I wish to discuss being kind to myself and others.

I am awfully good at being kind to those I don’t see a lot of – thinking kind thoughts of those far away and/or in desperate circumstances.  Those who regularly cross my path is another story altogether.  Them I am super good at being annoyed by.

Being kind to myself was a similar sad story.  Good news – I have improved in recent months.  This blogging process has been a kind of therapy for me.  So thank you for being out there, for coming and coming back (yes I can see you & I’d love to hear from you in the comments).

I am finding the “just for today” idea useful in being kind to those I see often.  When my partner is driving me insane (poor chap, can’t help himself, given breathing drives me insane some days), to focus on the idea that I need to be kind ‘just for today’….. well that seems a lot easier than the next 40 or 50 years.

In the heat of the moment

My problem is still the heat of the moment, catching the unkind thought or action while it is still hot.  I am a hot head.  Such a euphemism for someone not very in control of their emotions and actions huh?  Between stimulus (however innocuous e.g. breathing partner) and action … this is where all the power in life is.  So many sliding doors moments there.  My problem is I seem to have very little power exactly in that gap where I need it most.

…… so many personality flaws to overcome, or learn to like.  So much scope for so much kindness to self.

Kindness is linked to Happiness

Yes … happiness it turns out is linked to kindness.  Happy people are more kind, in multiple ways; they have more desire to be kind, are more likely to recognize kindness, and are more likely to behave kindly (Otake, Shimai, Tanaka-Matsumi, Otsui, & Fredrickson, 2006).

I started thinking … how happy am I?  So I had a wee look at the subjective happiness scale. I’m not feeling great, with a happiness score of 16 out of a possible 28.  So what can I do?

Good news; the same article did a second study that showed just one week of counting your kindnesses might just make you happier.  Side note – the quality of the journal may be dubious, but I’m prepared to have a crack.

So in the next week – I can turn my failure around and instead of Just for Today: be kind to yourself and others, I’ll go for Just for Today: Diligently count your kindnesses, even your kind thoughts are valid, write those babies down!

A week Later

Well … I have sent some ‘loving kindnesses’ via meditation to people in need.  I have not ‘lost it’ with the inner circle.  I have made some charitable donations.  I have liked and liked and liked on fb.  I did loose it a bit and get a bit sarcastic with some of the rubbish driving me mad.  Which no doubt unpicked most of my good work all week, as well as exposing me to potential readers as a bit of an arse (it was a time bomb that one).  So all in all a mixed bag.

What does the data say  – Happiness Score now… drum role….. 16/28.  Right so counting kindness has not worked out that well for me.  What gives?  Well I have been having flares of some of my illnesses, so that could be messing up my results (or ‘confounding’ them to use silly academic speak).  Also this scale is a scale where you can choose a mid point as it is a one to seven scale, so I kept choosing the mid point (4).  If the scale had been an even numbered scale I would have been forced to get off the fence. Just maybe then last week I would have gone just to the negative and this week just to the positive.  Then I would have seen an increase – but which one would be more true? Ah life and research are so  tricky.

However I did have some very nice experiences this week in return for kind actions, so if the scale had been about them, the outcome may have been different. So me and kindness are going to try and stay friends for now.

How goes your attempts to think and behave in kind ways?  Or to behave in kind ways when you don’t at first feel them, now that could be powerful.

For now go kindly in the direction of your dreams,

Yours as ever

The wellbeingatwork(nearly)Dr

References / Links

Happiness Scale (note the last question is reverse scored).

http://sonjalyubomirsky.com/subjective-happiness-scale-shs/

Otake, K., Shimai, S., Tanaka-Matsumi, J., Otsui, K., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2006). Happy people become happier through kindness: A counting kindnesses intervention. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7(3), 361-375.

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6 Responsesso far.

  1. Sara says:

    Hi, Rachel. Oh, this is good. Kindness and Gratitude are big life and thought-changers.

    I have no problem being kind to those who are kind to me. ^_^

    I like to think I’m kind by default, but I know myself too well.

    I think that the true test of kindness comes in the moment when you’re irritated with the breathing ^_^

    Not sure where I read it but it’s said that to change, don’t concentrate on what you’re taking away (like I won’t be judgemental) but rather on what you want. So, think kind, read kind, listen to kind, etc. and Kind will become you.

    Sara @SaraDuggan.Me

  2. Erica says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I love it: So much scope for so much kindness to self.
    Sometimes being kind to ourselves can be hard, since we know ourselves and our weaknesses and mistakes so well. I used to be REALLY hard on myself… and I think that led to being hard on others, too. I’ve improved over the years, but I’m sure I still have a ways to go.

    Thanks for the reminder that our happiness is very connected to how kind we are to ourselves and others. Great thoughts, and I hope to become more aware of kindness in the next few days, as well!

    • wellbeingatworkdr says:

      I think that is such a classic human thing Erica … I mean how being hard on others is actually about ourselves …. I’m certainly a shocker …. I too am mellowing with age … but the bar was seriously low 🙂

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